Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Popular psychology theories on self-esteem not backed up by serious research

01.03.2011
Low self-esteem is associated with a greater risk of mental health problems such as eating disorders and depression. From a public health perspective, it is important for staff in various health-related professions to know about self-esteem.

However, there is a vast difference between the research-based knowledge on self-esteem and the simplified popular psychology theories that are disseminated through books and motivational talks, reveals research from the University of Gothenburg.

Current popular psychology books distinguish between self-esteem and self-confidence. It is also believed that it is possible to improve self-esteem without there being a link to how competent people perceive themselves to be in areas they consider important.

This is in stark contrast to the results of a new study carried out by researcher Magnus Lindwall from the University of Gothenburg’s Department of Psychology and colleagues from the UK, Turkey and Portugal.

“I think it’s important that people have a more balanced idea of what self-esteem actually is,” says Lindwall. “Our results show that self-esteem is generally linked most strongly to people’s perceived competence in areas that they consider to be important.”

The flip side is that the researchers show that people are most vulnerable to low self-esteem when they fail or feel less competent in areas that are important to them.

“Self-esteem is also closely linked to self-confidence and perceived competence in different areas, primarily those areas that a person considers to be important,” says Lindwall.

The study builds on one of the dominant theories in the field, formulated over a hundred years ago by the American philosopher William James. It states that self-esteem is actually the result of perceived success, or competence, in an area relative to how important this area is.

The current study, involving 1,831 university students from the four countries, focuses specifically on self-perception of the body – for example, how strong or fit the test subjects consider themselves to be and how attractive they believe their bodies to be.

“The results show that self-perception of the body, primarily in those areas that were considered to be important, is linked with general self-esteem,” says Lindwall.

“In general, our study – along with plenty of other research in the field – paints a completely different and more complicated picture of self-esteem than that set out in best-selling popular psychology books,” says Lindwall. “These books are often based on a person’s own experiences and anecdotes rather than systematic research. Self-esteem is just not as simple as that, otherwise interest in the concept wouldn’t be so great.”

The results will be published in the Journal of Personality, one of the leading scientific journals in the field.

Contact:
Magnus Lindwall, telephone: +46(0)70 960 3545, +46 (0)31 786 4274, e-mail: magnus.lindwall@psy.gu.se

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://www.gu.se

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

When Air is in Short Supply - Shedding light on plant stress reactions when oxygen runs short

23.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics

23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Sea ice extent sinks to record lows at both poles

23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>