The self-concept can be analyzed from a theoretical perspective which has developmental implications, both historically and ontologically. Five stages in the development of the self-concept can be recognized, with a different type of self-esteem being appropriate to each stage. These stages are: the dynamic self; self-as-object; self-as-knower; self-as-integrated-whole; and the ‘selfless’ self. Cognitive growth is seen as underlying passage from stage to stage. Requirements for the measurement of self-esteem vary across stages. These requirements are specified, and approaches to measurement at each level are considered.