Self-respect: A neglected concept

Constance E. Roland, Richard M. Foxx

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Although neglected by psychology, self-respect has been an integral part of philosophical discussion since Aristotle and continues to be a central issue in contemporary moral philosophy. Within this tradition, self-respect is considered to be based on one's capacity for rationality and leads to behaviors that promote autonomy, such as independence, self-control and tenacity. Self-respect elicits behaviors that one should be treated with respect and requires the development and pursuit of personal standards and life plans that are guided by respect for self and others. In contrast, the psychological concept of self-esteem is grounded in the theories of self-concept. As such, self-esteem is a self-evaluation of competency ratios and opinions of significant others that results in either a positive or negative evaluation of one's worthiness and inclusionary status. The major distinction between the two is that while competency ratios and others' opinions are central to self-esteem, autonomy is central to self-respect. We submit that not only is self-respect important in understanding self-esteem, but that it also uniquely contributes to individual functioning. Research is needed to establish the central properties of self-respect and their effects on individual functioning, developmental factors, and therapeutic approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-288
Number of pages42
JournalPhilosophical Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy
  • Applied Psychology


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