Self-Esteem in Iran: Views from Antiquity to Modern Times

Mohsen Joshanloo


Self-esteem, an antecedent to well-being, is highly contested.  Most of the research on self-esteem has been conducted in Western or East Asian cultures and little is known about the concept and functions of self-esteem elsewhere.  In fact, the relationship between self-esteem and culture has been the subject of debate as some argue that self-esteem is a Western cultural artifact.  In the present study, notions related to self-esteem from selected Iranian religious and philosophical texts, the Qu’ran, as well as psychological views are reviewed as much of the prior work in this area has relied on conceptualizations rooted in Western philosophy and history.  The analysis demonstrates that self-esteem is valued in Iranian religious worldviews and folk belief systems.  Further, an investigation of contemporary Iranian culture and existing empirical findings indicates that these cultural beliefs are translated into actual effects.  This examination is critical in developing local constructs or unearthing those that exist within the local Iranian context, a premise put forward within the cultural and positive psychology domains in developing indigenous forms of knowledge.


self-esteem; Iran; culture; Islam; Sufism; well-being

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