The Korean dictionary of psychology terms includes the word jajonshim, which means “self-esteem.” However, the meaning of jajonshim as Koreans use it is different from the meaning of self-esteem. Thus, we perform two studies to clarify the concept of jajonshim and to demonstrate how it differs from self-esteem. The purpose of Study 1 is to determine the socio-cultural meanings of jajonshim by examining its shared social representation in Korean culture. We ask open-ended questions and conduct a literature review related to jajonshim. The results of the text analysis show that Koreans perceive jajonshim as something that a person should have and maintain no matter who he or she is. At the same time, they believe that excessive jajonshim can be harmful. From the contextual analysis, we find four kinds of contexts (damaged, maintained, recovered, and abandoned). In Study 2, we conduct in-depth interviews and collect data that we analyze through the grounded theory paradigm model. On the basis of the results, we discuss differences between jajonshim and self-esteem and suggest that jajonshim is not limited to Korean culture. In further research, we develop the concept of jajonshim more clearly and find cultural differences.
Suh, S., Han, M., & Adeclas, J. (2016). A comparative study of Jajonshim and self-esteem. In C. Roland-Lévy, P. Denoux, B. Voyer, P. Boski, & W. K. Gabrenya Jr. (Eds.), Unity, diversity and culture. Proceedings from the 22nd Congress of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology. https://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/iaccp_papers/163