A wide body of literature exists on the relationship between childhood and adolescent self-concept and achievement (Molloy, Gest, & Rulison, 2011; Trautwein, Ludtke, Marsh, & Nagy, 2009); however, few studies explore the extent to which other socio-psychological processes interact with these 2 variables. Many studies point to parent and teacher feedback as critical factors in the development of self-evaluative processes in children, but there is an absence of literature exploring the extent to which perceptions of peer achievement and social interactions may predict self-concept (Altermatt, Pomerantz, Ruble, Frey, & Greulich, 2002). A growing number of theorists assert that the self-concept/achievement relationship must be examined within the context of the social environment (Guay, Boivin, & Hodges, 1999; Rogers, Smith, & Coleman, 1978). What is yet to be explored with more in-depth analysis, however, is whether a relationship exists between children's perception of themselves and the level of performance exhibited by their peers (Guay et al., 1999). In an effort to shed light on this subject the present study seeks to identify any correlation between self-concept, social comparison processes, and academic achievement through the lens of the following theoretical constructs: (a) Self-Concept and Self-Theory; (b) Social-Comparison Theory; and (c) Achievement Goal and (d) Social Identity Theories. Social comparison theory and its role in self-evaluation were first promulgated in the 1950s. This theory proposes that individuals seek accurate appraisals of self and engage in comparison to others in the absence of objective feedback (Festinger, 1954). Finally, achievement is explored in connection with achievement goal theory and in context with social identity theory. Achievement goal theory holds that individuals possess an awareness of their abilities and, as a result, adopt relative goal theories associated with achievement behaviors. Each of the foregoing theoretical constructs has implications for an enlarged focus on the development of childhood self-concept, socialization processes and their relationship to academic achievement. This study will add to a growing body of literature exploring potential links between peer social comparison processes, global and academic self-concept, and achievement.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Self-perception in children; Middle school students -- Attitudes; Learning, Psychology of -- Social aspects; Academic achievement

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Vodicka, Devin;