Self-esteem is the amount of worth people assign to themselves. It has been a topic of interest for many generations. This is because self-esteem affects the day-to-day lives of everyone. Given its importance to society, it is one of the many things worth investing time and effort into investigating. This article discusses new information learned from recent studies on the development of self-esteem.
In order to establish a valid study, controls have to be set up. These researchers made sure to control the differences in income, employment, and health. This is so as to ensure that there were no extraneous or confounding variables that would corrupt the study (Orth & Robins, 2014).
It is also important to note that many of these studies combined multiple data sets, which increases their findings’ reliability significantly. Another reason why these studies are reliable is the fact that large data samples of over one thousand people were used. This is because the larger the population being investigated, the larger the sample size must be in order to provide adequate representation. This sample included various individuals from multiple age cohorts. The age of the individuals is the independent variable and their self-esteem levels the dependent. The data taken from this sample was collected in a manner consistent to that of a longitudinal study in which the data on these subjects was collected over a long period of time (Orth & Robins, 2014).
What is the usual development of self-esteem throughout childhood to old age or, at what points of life does self-esteem climb up or down? According to the data, self-esteem does indeed develop changes throughout childhood into old age. The graph depicts self-esteem increasing from childhood to middle adulthood, peaking at the ages of fifty and sixty. The graph then appears to be rapidly decreasing at old age (Orth & Robins, 2014). To further support this study’s findings, a couple other reliable studies have also found a strikingly similar life-span trajectory (Orth & Robins, 2014). However, there are also studies that depict a smaller decrease in self-esteem in individuals of old age. The difference between these two can be explained by a lack of control over the study (Orth & Robins, 2014). For example, the self-esteem decline during old age can be explained by a decline in health, cognitive abilities, and socioeconomic status. So, contrarily, when individuals maintain their health and wealth, they will appear to have higher self-esteem (Orth & Robins, 2014). Also, although women tend to have lower self-esteem than men, it evidently does not have a significant effect on the trajectory (Orth & Robins, 2014). Ethnicity, on the other hand, does play a significant role in the self-esteem life-span trajectory in that the trajectory for ethnic minorities differs from that of majority-group individuals. For example, the self-esteem trajectory for African-Americans both rose and fell more quickly during adolescence and during old age in comparison with European-Americans (Orth & Robins, 2014). It is apparent that personality also has an effect on self-esteem. People who are extroverted, conscientious, and emotionally stable tend to have higher self-esteem (Orth & Robins, 2014). Inferring from this information, the opposite is also true. Individuals who tend to be more emotionally unstable, introverted, and careless tend to have lower self-esteem levels (Orth & Robins, 2014).
How consistent is self-esteem or, is self-esteem similar to a fleeting feeling one may experience or is it a steady characteristic? A study finds self-esteem to be a relatively stable trait (Orth & Robins, 2014). However, self-esteem is not entirely fixed either. During adolescence, the lower self-esteem can be explained by fluctuations. These fluctuations can be caused by life experiences such as achievement or defeat (Orth & Robins, 2014). There are studies that support the idea that an individual’s self-esteem trajectory from young adulthood to middle adulthood steadily increases because it becomes less susceptible to fluctuations, or contingencies (Orth & Robins, 2014). However, this study does not provide information as to whether it similarly explains the self-esteem decline in individuals of old age as well.
Does self-esteem actually impact significant things in life? Levels of self-esteem can indeed impact significant things in life such as success in one’s relationships, career, and health. Based on the outcomes of a couple studies, there is significant proof to support this idea. If an individual’s self-esteem appears to be high, it can be predicted that this person would have better health, success, and happiness (Orth & Robins, 2014).
It is easy to understand the frustration my friend is going through. Having low self-esteem can affect one’s day-to-day life dramatically, causing them to feel downcast for even years on end. This, consequently, may affect their ability to have success in their career, relationships, or overall well-being (Orth & Robins, 2014).
Assuming my friend is around high school or college age, many conclusions can be made as to why they are feeling this way. My friend appears to believe that their low self esteem will never change and that it will remain low forever. According to the graph presented in the article, that is simply not true. According to the data from these studies, there is an overall trend with self-esteem. In adolescence or young adulthood, self-esteem tends to be quite low in comparison to the self-esteem of people in middle adulthood (Orth & Robins, 2014). Therefore, I can use this information to prove to my friend that their self-esteem will, according to this very reliable data, indeed rise if only they would give it time.
While self-esteem appears to be a relatively consistent trait, it can at times be susceptible to contingent fluctuations (Orth & Robins, 2014). Therefore, my friend’s self-esteem may possibly be currently fluctuating because during this young age, low self-esteem can be explained by these fluctuations. Since my friend believes that they feel like a failure, or they do not have much to be proud of, this can mean that they recently faced a feeling of defeat. For example, if my friend is currently in school, and they recently received a failing grade on an exam they studied hard for, their self-esteem can fluctuate to be lower in response to that news. Their self-esteem would drop for the time being. My friend needs to understand that this could very well be just a feeling that will pass when they reach middle adulthood.
The fact that my friend mentioned they feel as if they have not accomplished enough suggests that they are conscientious. More conscientious people, according to the data, tend to have a higher self-esteem trajectory in comparison to their less conscientious or careless counterparts (Orth & Robins, 2014). Therefore, I can use this information to encourage my friend in that they will likely develop higher self-esteem solely based on their personality.
These studies on the development of self-esteem have provided valuable insight into the important societal aspect of self-esteem. This new information can provide many people with an opportunity to know how to approach problems in this ubiquitous part of society. Knowing how self-esteem develops throughout the years and its varying effects on people of different ethnicities and personalities can provide a window of opportunity in future research and improve interactions in everyday life.