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Low Self-Esteem During Adolescence Predicts Poor Health, Criminal Behavior, and Limited Economic Prospects During Adulthood

Using prospective data from the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study birth cohort,
the authors found that adolescents with low self-esteem had poorer mental and physical health, worse
economic prospects, and higher levels of criminal behavior during adulthood, compared with adolescents
with high self-esteem. The long-term consequences of self-esteem could not be explained by adolescent
depression, gender, or socioeconomic status. Moreover, the findings held when the outcome variables
were assessed using objective measures and informant reports; therefore, the findings cannot be
explained by shared method variance in self-report data. The findings suggest that low self-esteem during
adolescence predicts negative real-world consequences during adulthood.
Dr. Kali Trzesniewski,
Oct 29, 2011, 11:47 AM