Self-esteem is lowest among young adults but increased throughout adulthood, peaking at age 60, before it started to decline according to researchers Ulrich Orth of the University of Basel, Kali Trzesnieuski of the University of Western Ontario and Richard Robbins of The University of California and published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Between 1986 and 2002, these researchers surveyed a total of 3,617 adults living in the United States. The researchers measured self-esteem by asking participants to rate their level of agreement with statements such as, "I take a positive attitude toward myself," which suggests high self-esteem; "At times I think I am no good at all" and "All in all, I am inclined to feel that I am a failure," which both suggest low self-esteem. Subjects were also asked about their ethnicity, education, income, work status, relationship satisfaction, marital status, health, social support and if they had experienced stressful life events. Some examples of stressful life events are suddenly losing a job, being the victim of a violent crime, or experiencing the death of a parent or of a child.
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