Joseph Picture Self-Concept Scale™

by Jack Joseph, PhD

Joseph Picture Self-Concept Scale™

by Jack Joseph, PhD
Benefits Using a unique picture response format, it allows clinicians to assess self-concept in very young children
Ages 3 to 13 years
Admin time 5-10 minutes
Norms Based on a sample of 934 children
Publish Date 2004
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About This Product

Picture of Joseph Picture Self-Concept Scale™


Until now, there has been no standardized method for assessing self-concept in children younger than 7. The Joseph Picture Self-Concept Scale allows clinicians to measure self-concept in children as young as 3. The test quickly identifies children whose negative self-appraisals put them at risk for academic and behavioral difficulties. It is ideal for busy mental health practitioners because it blends the precision of a sophisticated diagnostic instrument with the convenience and versatility of a screening tool. 

Picture Response Format Requiring No Reading

The Joseph Scale employs a unique administration format that lets youngsters respond using pictures rather than words. Children are shown pairs of illustrations representing common self-appraisal situations and are asked to choose between a picture representing positive self-concept and another representing negative self-concept. For example, one picture might show a youngster being disciplined, and the other a youngster being praised. The examiner asks the child to indicate which of the two illustrated situations happens to him or her more frequently. The child may answer orally, or may simply point to his or her choice. This interview-and-picture response format is particularly useful with preschoolers and older children who may have developmental problems or language difficulties. Because it requires no reading, the Joseph Picture Self-Concept Scale can be used with virtually any child. 

Separate Stimulus Pictures for Older and Younger Children, for Boys and Girls, for Light- and Dark-Skinned Children

The scale consists of two forms: the Young Child Interview (Form Y), used to assess children ages 3-0 to 7-11; and the Older Child Interview (Form O), designed for children ages 7-0 to 13-11. Each form includes its own Stimulus Booklets—Light-Skin and Dark-Skin versions—which contain picture pairs for both boys and girls. Form Y includes 21 items, while Form O includes 30 items. Either form can be completed in just 5 to 10 minutes. The Older Child Interview includes a Response Distortion Index and items geared specifically to older children. It also uses an interactive interview format, although, like the Young Child Interview, it requires no reading and can be essentially nonverbal.

Both forms yield a Total Self-Concept Score as well as clinical indicators of response validity. Standardization is based on a sample of 934 children, from 3 to 13 years old, who were assessed with either the Young Child (n = 379) or Older Child (n = 555) Form.

In addition to its clinical applications, the Joseph Scale can be used to evaluate psychological and educational interventions, to investigate the relationship between self-concept and other traits and behaviors (e.g., empathy, school readiness, disruptive behaviors, depression), and to monitor changes in self-concept over time.