Faith in Yourself: Self-Esteem in Guatemalan Religious Schools

Darin Mitchel Mather


This study examines the effect that private religious schools have on self-esteem. Using data collected from 21 Catholic, evangelical and secular private schools in Guatemala, comparisons are made to determine if there are differences between these school types in students’ self-esteem and academic confidence. Hierarchical linear models are constructed to further examine school differences in the presence of controls for gender and gender ideology, family influence and various religious measures. Contrary to many previous findings, results in this study show that Catholic school students generally have lower levels of self-esteem and academic confidence than students at other types of private religious schools. These lower Catholic school findings persist for measures of reflected appraisals and math confidence even in the presence of relevant controls. Full models also show that gender ideology, family background, and religious beliefs and practices have a significant effect on student self-esteem and academic confidence. Overall, results highlight the key role that religious beliefs and religious saliency have on student self-esteem.


self-esteem, academic confidence, religious schools, religion, Guatemala

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RISE - Revista Internacional de Sociología de la Educación | ISSN: 2014-3575

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