The Relationship Between Self-Reinforcement and Self-Esteem (B.F. Skinner).

Essay by dyingechoesUniversity, Bachelor'sA, May 2003

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According to B.F. Skinner, "reinforcement" is anything within the environment that strengthens a behavior. In this sense he defines both positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement and their affects on behavior. A positive reinforcer is one that increases the probability of a given behavior; whereas a negative reinforcer increases the probability that a preceding behavior will occur, i.e. avoiding loud noises. To this end, it is hypothesized that a person with high frequency of positive self-reinforcement is likely to have high self-esteem.



Forty participants were selected for this study and ranged in age from 16-55 years. There were 25 female participants and 14 male participants in the study. All participants were selected from a convenience sample of friends and family of students from California Lutheran University.


For both, the "Frequency of Self-Reinforcement Questionnaire (FSRQ)" and the "Self-Esteem Questionnaire (ISE)," a piece of paper, pencil, and self-report surveys were administered to measure self-reinforcement and self-esteem in this study.

The FSRQ consisted of 30 statements to which the participant responded on a 4-point scale from never descriptive of me to most of the time descriptive of me. The range of possible scores for this survey is 0 to 90. For the FSRQ, a high score indicates great frequency of self-reinforcement, however scores below 16 indicate serious deficits in self-reinforcement skills. The FSRQ has good parallel validity as demonstrated by correlations between FSRQ scores and self-monitoring of self-reinforcement and experimenter ratings of respondents' tendency to engage in self-reinforcement. The ISE consisted of 25 statements to which the participant responded on a 5-point scale from rarely or none of the time to most or all of the time. The range of possible scores for this survey is 0 to 100. For the ISE, higher scores give more evidence of the presence of problems...