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Stability of Self-Esteem Across the Life Span

Two studies examined the rank-order stability of self-esteem from age 6 to 83: Study 1 was a
meta-analysis of 50 published articles (N = 29,839) and Study 2 analyzed data from 4 large national
studies (N = 74,381). Self-esteem showed substantial continuity over time (disattenuated correlations
ranged from the .50s to .70s), comparable to the stability found for personality traits. Both studies
provided evidence for a robust developmental trend: Self-esteem stability was low during childhood,
increased throughout adolescence and young adulthood, and declined during midlife and old age. This
trend could not be explained by age differences in the reliability of self-esteem measures, and generally
replicated across gender, ethnicity, self-esteem scale, nationality (U.S. vs. non-U.S.), and year of
Dr. Kali Trzesniewski,
Nov 1, 2011, 5:06 PM