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.
Trzesniewski, KH; Donnellan, MB; Moffitt, TE; Robins, RW; Poulton, R; Caspi, A
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