Your Child’s Self-Esteem? The Experts Speak

Photography, Children and Self-Esteem: The Murfreesboro Study

There was a revealing study conducted in 1975 with a group of fourth graders at a Murfreesboro, Tenn. school. The study was conducted by Jerry Fryrear of Tulane University and Mary Ammerman with Murfreesboro City Schools.

What The Study Discovered

The children were selected from a set of test results indicating they had self-esteem scores below the median score of all the fourth-grade students. These chosen students participated in a carefully set-up study over the course of five-weeks.

During those five weeks, the children took polaroid instant photos of themselves with provided cameras in a variety of assigned poses, compositions and expressing various emotions. The children worked with the printed images of themselves and created scrapbooks once a week over those five weeks.

Testing of the students and teachers at the conclusion of the five weeks revealed a significant increase of 37 percent in the students’ average self-esteem behaviors as seen by their teachers versus a control group which showed just a 10 percent increase on those same scores.

Here is the link to the study:

Ammerman, M. S. and Fryrear, J. L. (1975), Photographic enhancement of children’s self-esteem. Psychol. Schs., 12: 319–325. doi: 10.1002/1520-6807(197507)12:33.0.CO;2-X


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