Open Access Peer-reviewed

The Role of Self-Esteem in College Students Volunteering to Mentor a Presumed Physically Disabled Student

Katherine A. McDaniel1,, Terry F. Pettijohn II1

1Department of Psychology, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, South Carolina, USA

American Journal of Applied Psychology. 2013, 1(2), 21-25. DOI: 10.12691/ajap-1-2-1
Published online: August 25, 2017


The following study was done to test the effect of low and high self-esteem on a person’s willingness to mentor a student presumed to be physically disabled. Those with high self-esteem were predicted to feel more comfortable and volunteer more hours mentoring a presumed physically disabled student than those with low self-esteem. Participants (N = 89) viewed a photo of either a female student in a wheelchair or the same female student standing, then reported the level of comfort helping her, how much time they would volunteer to help, and a self-esteem scale. Participants who viewed the wheelchair photo reported feeling more comfortable than those who viewed the standing photo, and those with high self-esteem were willing to give more time a week than those with low self-esteem. Academic major and previous relationships did not have an effect on helping. A ceiling effect for comfort ratings and social desirability may help explain these mixed results.


persons with disability, self-esteem, mentoring, social desirability
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