Americans turn out to have the highest self-esteem at age 60, according to new research.
There are important variables and nuances, but the basic message might be surprising to many who believe that very young people have better self-esteem than older people.
Ulrich Orth and Richard Robins surveyed 3,617 adults in the United States between 1986 and 2002, and asked them how they felt about themselves -- whether they felt competent and able to carry out their goals successfully, or incompetent and helpless. Women tended to have lower self esteem than men -- which to me overwhelmingly suggests the hand of sexism, both conscious and unconscious, both internalized and external -- but the sexes converge in their self esteem later in life. Blacks and whites have similar self-esteem during most of life, but black self-esteem seems to drop more abruptly than among whites late in life.