Self-esteem and Language Learning: empirical evidences from the past two decades

Danica Anna Dee Guban-Caisido


Self-esteem is among the well-researched emotional variables in any field of study. Language learning is a specific domain at which self-esteem plays an important role and where it is particularly endangered because of the unique nature of the language classroom. While there is an abundance of studies regarding self-esteem in educational psychology, few have focused on its effect on language learning. This study aimed to present an overview of the current developments and trends in the studies regarding self-esteem and language learning in the past two decades. Employing keyword search collocations of self-esteem and language learning, self-esteem and second language, self-esteem and foreign language, this review utilized 20 articles for full-text analysis after elimination of other variables. The results, divided into three trends, consistently show that there exist relationships between self-esteem and language skills, self-esteem and second or foreign language proficiency, as well as self-esteem and other emotional variables within the language classroom.


Keywords: self-esteem, language learning, second language, language proficiency, correlation


Full Text:



Alhuei, M., Sheikh, S., & Mansoory, N. (2015). The relationship between self-esteem and language learning. Editorial team, 8, 11.

Alrabai, F. (2017). The self-esteem of Saudi learners and their relationship to their achievement in English as a foreign language. English Linguistics Research, 6(4), 1-12. DOI: 10.5430/elr.v6n4p1

Arnold, J. (2007). Self-concept as part of the affective domain in language learning. In Self-esteem and foreign language learning, ed. F. Rubio, 13–27. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Basco, L. M., & Han, S.H. (2016). Self-esteem, Motivation, and Anxiety of Korean University Students. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 7(6), 1069-1078.

Bagheri, M. S., & Faghih, M. (2012). The relationship between self-esteem, personality type and reading comprehension of Iranian EFL students. Theory and practice in language studies, 2(8), 1641. doi:10.4304/pls.2.8.1641-1650

Baumeister, R. F., Campbell, J. D., Kruegger, J. I., & Vohs, K. D. (2003). Does high self-esteem cause better performance, interpersonal success, happiness, or healthier lifestyles? Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 4, 1–44, 10.1111/1529-1006.01431

Beane, J. A., & Lipka, R. P. (1984). Self-concept, self-esteem, and curriculum. Teachers College Press.

Brown, H. D. (1994). Teaching by principles: An interactive approach to language pedagogy. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall Regents.

Coopersmith, S. (1967). The antecedents of self-esteem. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman & Co. D

Dev, S., & Qiqieh, S. (2016). The Relationship between English Language Proficiency, Academic Achievement and Self-Esteem of Non-Native-English-Speaking Students. International Education Studies, 9(5), 147-155.

Dewaele, J.M. (2011). Reflections on the emotional and psychological aspects of foreign language learning and use. Anglistik. International Journal of English Studies, 22 (1), 46-61.

Diener, E. D., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The satisfaction with life scale. Journal of personality assessment, 49(1), 71-75.

Dörnyei, Z., & Ryan, S. (2015). The psychology of the language learner revisited. New York: Routledge

Fahim, M., & Rad, S. K. (2012). The relationship between self-esteem and paragraph writing of Iranian EFL learners. Psychology, 3(01), 24.

Gass, S. M., Behney, J., & Plonsky, L. (2013). Second language acquisition: An introductory course (4th ed.). London: Routledge.

Habrat, A. (2013). The effect of effect on learning: Self-esteem and self-concept. In Language in cognition and effect (pp. 239-253). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

Habrat, A. (2018). The Role of Self-Esteem in Foreign Language Learning and Teaching. Switzerland: Springer. ISBN 978-3-319-75283-9. (ebook)

Harter, S. (1983). The Development of self-esteem. Handbook of Child Psychology: Social and Personality Development. New York: Wiley.

Hassan, B. A. (2001). The Relationship of Writing Apprehension and Self-Esteem to the Writing Quality and Quantity of EFL University Students. Mansoura University, College of Education.

Hayati, A. M., & Ostadian, M. (2008). The relationship between self-esteem and listening comprehension of EFL students. Published Research, Faculty of Letters and Humanities, Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, Iran, 1-13.

Hoge, D. R., Smit, E. K., & Crist, J. T. (1995). Reciprocal effects of self-concept and academic achievement in sixth and seventh grade. Journal of youth and adolescence, 24(3), 295-314.

Hulstijn, J. H. (2007). Fundamental issues in the study of second language acquisition. EUROSLA Yearbook, 7, 193–203.

Kalanzadeh, G. A., Mahnegar, F., Hassannejad, E., & Bakhtiarvand, M. (2013). The influence of EFL students' self-esteem on their speaking skills. The International Journal of Language Learning and Applied Linguistics World, 2(2), 77-84.

Klimova, B. (2018). Learning a foreign language: A review of recent findings of its effect on the enhancement of cognitive functions among healthy older individuals. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 12, 305.

Koosha, B., Ketabi, S., & Kassaian, Z. (2011). The Effects of Self-esteem, Age and Gender on the Speaking Skills of Intermediate University EFL Learners. Theory & Practice in Language Studies, 1(10). doi:10.4304/tpls.1.10.1328-1337

Lawrence, D. (1996) Enhancing Self-Esteem in the Classroom. London: Paul Chapman.

Leary, M. R., & MacDonald, G. (2003). Individual differences in self-esteem: A review and theoretical integration. InM. R. Leary & J. P. Tangney (Eds.), Handbook of self and identity (pp. 401–418). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Lerner, B. (1996). Self-Esteem and Excellence: The Choice and the Paradox. American Educator, 20(2).

Maleki, N., & Mohammadi, A. (2009). Self-esteem and anxiety of Iranian EFL learners in oral communication tasks. Journal of linguistic studies, 2(2), 47-54.

Mandokhail, S., Khan, F. R., & Malghani, M. (2018). Impact of ESL Learners' Self-Esteem on Their Oral Proficiency. International Journal of English linguistics, 8(3), 210-222.

Manning, M., G. Bear and K. Minke. (2006). Self-concept and self-esteem. In Children's Needs III. Development, Prevention, and Intervention, 341–356. Bethesda: NASP Publications.

Marsh, H. W., Byrne, B. M., & Shavelson, R. J. (1988). A multifaceted academic self-concept: Its hierarchical structure and its relation to academic achievement. Journal of educational psychology, 80(3), 366.

Marsh, H. W., Kong, C. K., & Hau, K. T. (2001). Extension of the internal/external frame of reference model of self-concept formation: Importance of native and nonnative languages for Chinese students. Journal of Educational Psychology, 93(3), 543.

Moriya, R. (2019). In the Midst of Emotion and Identity: Investigating Trajectories of Learners' Self-Esteem From Psychological and Sociocultural Perspectives. Learner Development Journal 1 (3).

Narafshan, M. H., & Noori, S. (2018). Enhancing Self-Esteem in Classroom Language Learning: The Potential of Implementing a Strength-Based Positive Psychology Intervention at Higher Education. International Journal of Language Teaching and Education, 2(3), 334-345.

Piechurska-Kuciel, E. (2008). Language anxiety in secondary grammar school students. Opole: Opole University Press.

Piran, N. A. (2014). The relationship between self-concept, self-efficacy, self-esteem and reading comprehension achievement: Evidence from Iranian EFL learners. International Journal of Social Sciences and Education, 5(1), 58-66.

Pramita, G. A. P. (2012). The contribution of self-esteem and language learning strategies to the students' English proficiency for second-year students of SMA Negeri 7 Denpasar. Journal penelitian, 1(1), 10-13. Doi:

Prior, M. T. (2019). Elephants in the room: An "affective turn," or just feeling our way?. The Modern Language Journal, 103(2), 516-527.

Rennie, L.J. (1991). The Relationship between Affect and Achievement in Science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 28 (2) 193-09.

Satriani, M. (2019). The Correlation between Self-esteem and Speaking Performance in Indonesia. Teaching and Learning English in Multicultural Contexts (TLEMC), 3(1), 8-14.

Soureshjani, K. H. and Naseri, N. (2011). An investigation into the relationship between self-esteem, proficiency level, and the reading ability of Iranian EFL language learners. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 2, 1312-1319.

Takahashi, A., & Takahashi, H. (2013). Learners' self-esteem and its relationships with motivation for learning English, self-perceived and actual English proficiency. æ–°æ½Ÿå¤§å­¦è¨€èªžæ–‡åŒ–ç ”ç©¶, 18, 1-12.

Tilfarlioglu, F. Y., & Delbesoglugil, A. B. Ö. (2014). Questioning academic success through self-regulation, self-esteem and attitude in foreign language learning (a case study). Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 4(11), 2223. doi:10.4304/tpls.4.11.2223-2230

Williams, M., Mercer, S., & Ryan, S. (2015). Exploring psychology in language learning and teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Wullur, B. G. (2014). Relationship between self-esteem and speaking skill of SMA students.

Zare, P., & Riasati, M. J. (2012). The relationship between language learning anxiety, self-esteem, and academic level among Iranian EFL learners. Pertanika Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, 20(1), 219-225.



  • There are currently no refbacks.


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Statcounter Global Stats - Browser, OS, Search Engine including Mobile  Usage Share

WebAnalytics Made Easy - StatCounter

TLEMC (Teaching and Learning English in Multicultural Contexts)
Program Studi Pendidikan Bahasa Inggris
Fakultas Keguruan dan Ilmu Pendidikan
Universitas Siliwangi
Jl. Siliwangi No. 24 Kota Tasikmalaya - 46115