Over the course of 14 years, the study's authors examined how five personality traits (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism) effected the youth's self-esteem.
The Switzerland researchers found that Hispanics have lower self-esteem than blacks or whites in the teen years, but by age 30, Hispanics’ self-esteem has actually increased and surpassed whites’ self esteem. Furthermore, in both adolescence and young adulthood, blacks have higher self-esteem than whites.
"We tested for factors that we thought would have an impact on how self-esteem develops," the study's lead author, Ruth Yasemin Erol, said in a news release from the American Psychological Association. "Understanding the trajectory of self-esteem is important to pinpointing and timing interventions that could improve people's self-esteem."
While the authors from Switzerland don’t provide much analysis as to why the self-esteem levels of the different races change over time, looking at Taylor’s argument may provide insight.
If children are less coddled in childhood – i.e. not told ‘you’re beautiful’, you’re smart’ on a continual basis – then they would self report as to having lower self-esteem growing up. But as people age and are able to reflect on the hardships of adolescence devoid in self-esteem, they are able to see that overcoming obstacles and persevering actually give oneself more self-value, self-worth and ultimately, self-esteem.
Self-Esteem Levels Vary by Age, Race, Study Finds
America's Self-Esteem Problem
Reviewed July 18, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Shannon Koehle
Bailey Mosier is a freelance journalist living in Orlando, Florida. She received a Masters of Journalism from Arizona State University, played D-I golf, has been editor of a Scottsdale-based golf magazine and currently contributes to GolfChannel.com. She aims to live an active, healthy lifestyle full of sunshine and smiles.