Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Human Development and Family Studies

Department name when degree awarded

Family and Human Development

Committee Chair(s)

Thomas R. Lee


Thomas R. Lee


Brent Miller


The concept of unconditional self-love is fundamental to many theoretical perspectives in social science and is referred to periodically in the literature. This study addressed the problem that scientific literature refers to unconditional self-love, but does not clearly define it, differentiate it from other types of feelings that comprise self-esteem, measure it, or even attempt to substantiate its existence. The purpose of this study was to define, describe, and measure unconditional self-love so that it may be used in the treatment of problems caused by low self-esteem.

To achieve this purpose, the concept of self-love was defined in relation to self-liking, separated from the other components of self-esteem, and operationalized through the creation of the Unconditional Self-Liking (USL) model and the Unconditional Self-Liking (USL) scale. The USL scale is a self-report questionnaire that simultaneously measures two variables in relation to one another. This was done using the intersect of the variables of personal success and self-liking as a measure of unconditionality across nine areas of self-identity. The USL model allows for the measurement and description of four primary types of self-liking: (a) conditional self-likers who like themselves only when they succeed, (b) unconditional self-dislikers who dislike themselves even when they succeed, (c) conditional self-dislikers who dislike themselves when they fail, and (d) unconditional self-likers who like themselves even when they fail.

The USL scale was administered to a convenience sample of 164 undergraduate university students who also completed the Modified Barrett-Lennard Relationship Inventory (BLRI) and the 10-question Rosenberg Self-Esteem (RSE) scale. The subjects' responses on the three scales were compared.

Major findings indicated that individual levels of self-liking varied between areas of self-identity. Moreover, the level of self-liking was not necessarily dependent on their level of success. Each of the corresponding measures of the three instruments showed positive correlations, except the measures of unconditionality. Finally, each of the four primary patterns of self-liking described by the USL model characterized some subjects. Findings support the concept of unconditional self- liking, which suggests that high levels of self-liking arc not limited to only the most capable, intelligent, talented, or attractive people.