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Sunday, April 04, 2010

My self-esteem is set to plunge

If you want the easy version of this story then read this article. If you want the paper upon which it is based then make a large pot of coffee, take a deep breadth and click here.

The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology has a paper with the enthralling title: “Self-Esteem Development from Young Adulthood to Old Age - A Cohort-Sequential Longitudinal Study.”

So here is the bottom line.

Self-esteem follows a quadratic trajectory across the adult life span, increasing during young and middle adulthood, reaching a peak at about age 60 years, and then declining in old age. No cohort differences in the self-esteem trajectory were found.

Women had lower self-esteem than did men in young adulthood, but their trajectories converged in old age. Whites and Blacks had similar trajectories in young and middle adulthood, but the self-esteem of Blacks declined more sharply in old age than did the self-esteem of Whites. More educated individuals had higher self-esteem than did less educated individuals, but their trajectories were similar. Moreover, the results suggested that changes in socioeconomic status and physical health account for the decline in self-esteem that occurs in old age.

The important bit as far as I am concerned is marked in red. The next time somebody tells you that Baby Boomers are somehow from a different planet to their parents you should shove this paper under their nose.

There is a big, big but with this research that this identified in the closing paragraphs.


Ethnicity, education level, socioeconomic status and health were of particular importance in explaining the life-span trajectory of self-esteem. These factors might causally influence self-esteem and, thus, are potential sources of self-esteem. This is a mightily long winded way of saying that we might have a chicken and egg situation. What comes first, a person’s high social economic status or their high self esteem?

Answers on a postcode to the authors of the paper. Dick Stroud

1 comment:

Dropshipper said...

You have described Self-Esteem and its differences in different people very efficiently. Thanks for sharing your opinion about self-esteem.