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Study shows girls have no less self-esteem than boys

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Summary of story from Swissinfo, July 29, 2011

A Swiss study on the self-esteem of young people aged between 14-30 did not show gender as having a significant impact.

Scientists from Basel University looked at data from the young adults section of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth from the US to see how young people’s self-esteem – defined as a person’s appraisal of his or her value – developed over time.

A sample of 7,100 individuals, of which 49 per cent were female, was assessed every two years from 1994-2008.

Overall, 37 per cent were white, 32 per cent black, 20 per cent Hispanic and 11 per cent other ethnicities.

Researchers, led by psychologist Ruth Yasemin Erol, looked at how five personality traits – openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism – affected self-esteem.

They also considered the subjects’ sense of mastery (i.e. perception of control over one’s life), risk-taking tendencies, gender, ethnicity, health and income.

Differences were found between the different ethnic groups at different stages. For example, Hispanics had lower self-esteem than blacks or whites in adolescence, but by age 30 showed confidence at higher levels than whites.

At age 30, whites also trailed blacks in terms of self-esteem, according to the study.

Overall, mastery was found to be an important factor for self-esteem. Income, on the other hand, was not.

Urs Kiener, from the children’s charity Pro Juventute, said it confirmed that self-esteem was not affected by gender but by self-assuredness levels.

Moving between the different phases of life often brings with it a dip in self-esteem and weakening of self-confidence until the individual becomes familiar with  that new life phase.

As Keiner maintains “Everybody needs a certain amount of self-assurance to get on in life.”

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