Australian Journal of Education

Article Title

The utility of general self-esteem and domain-specific self-concepts: Their influence on Indigenous and non-Indigenous students’ educational outcomes


It is only relatively recently that empirical research has begun to emerge that has sought to further understand the factors that may contribute to the educational inequities between Indigenous Australian and non-Indigenous Australian students. Although it has been argued that research has typically employed small, unrepresentative case studies and weak statistical approaches, a new wave of Indigenous educational research is seeking to understand the impact of psychological constructs on educational outcomes for Indigenous (and non-Indigenous) students. Embedded within this research is a careful consideration as to whether measures used are not only equivalent in meaning for Indigenous and non-Indigenous students but also equivalent in their ability to predict important schooling outcomes. Using this approach, this investigation tests the relation of multiple dimensions of self concept to Indigenous and non-Indigenous students’ educational outcomes. The validity of the quantitative measures was tested through a range of reliability, confirmatory factor analyses and invariance tests with the results demonstrating cross cultural equivalence of the measures investigated. In addition, moderating structural equation modelling path analyses attested to the predictive power of specific dimensions of self-concept in relation to schooling outcomes for Indigenous and non- Indigenous students and some subtle differences were noted. The results imply that targeting domain-specific self-concepts to increase both Indigenous and non-Indigenous educational outcomes can provide potentially potent solutions for contributing to realising equitable educational standards in Australia.