What is it about?

For decades, psychologists have debated whether high self-esteem has a positive impact on a person's life or whether it is simply a reflection of favorable life circumstances, with no concrete benefits. We reviewed hundreds of new longterm studies and found clear evidence that people with high self-esteem experience more success at school and work, better social relationships, improved mental and physical health, and less antisocial behavior. These benefits persisted from adolescence to old age, and held for men and women and across different racial and ethnic groups. Importantly, the positive consequences of high self-esteem could be seen for many objectively assessed outcomes, including achievement test scores, educational attainment, employment status, behavioral observation of relationship functioning, cardiorespiratory health, and (lack of) criminal convictions..

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Why is it important?

The findings of this review demonstrate that having high self-esteem has wide-ranging positive consequences, including better social relationships, more success at school and work, better mental and physical health, and less antisocial behavior. Consequently, well-designed and properly implemented self-esteem interventions might benefit individuals and society as a whole.

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This page is a summary of: Is high self-esteem beneficial? Revisiting a classic question., American Psychologist, January 2022, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/amp0000922.
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