Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A. DiTomasso, Ph.D., ABPP

First Advisor

Virginia Salzer, Ph.D., Chairperson

Second Advisor

Elizabeth Gosch, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Dr. Connie Bompadre


In recent decades much has been revealed regarding children’s self-perceptions and sense of worth. Children engage in social comparisons to gauge their strengths and weaknesses relative to those around them. Thus one’s environment plays a critical role impacting one’s perceptions of self. Other variables suggested as contributing to children’s formulation of self-worth, include academic achievement, perception of victimization by peers, and academic placement. However, findings have been inconsistent in regard to the extent to which these variables relate to self-worth. The present study sought to discern if these variables relate to children’s self-perceptions. Results revealed a positive correlation between students’ scholastic competence, self-perception scores and cognitive skills and academic achievement in reading, language arts, and mathematics. Findings also suggest that the children’s self-perceptions and sense of worth were significantly different, depending upon their academic group. Moreover, children in Learning Support demonstrated more pervasive negative self-perceptions across non-academic domains of competence, whereas the opposite effect was not evident for students in the gifted program. A significant, negative relationship was revealed between each domain of self-perception and perceptions of victimization. In addition, children in Learning Support perceive themselves to be more frequently victimized by their peers than students in either Regular Education or in Gifted Support. Educational implications, recommendations for future research, and study limitations are discussed.