Self-esteem is fundamentally linked to mental health, but its’ role in trajectories of psychiatric problems is unclear. In particular, few studies have addressed the role of self-esteem in the development of attention problems. Hence, we examined the role of global self-esteem in the development of symptoms of anxiety/depression and attention problems, simultaneously, in a clinical sample of adolescents while accounting for gender, therapy, and medication.
Longitudinal data were obtained from a sample of 201 adolescents—aged 13–18—referred to the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in Trondheim, Norway. In the baseline study, self-esteem, and symptoms of anxiety/depression and attention problems were measured by means of self-report. Participants were reassessed 3 years later, with a participation rate of 77% in the clinical sample.
Analyses showed that high self-esteem at baseline predicted fewer symptoms of both anxiety/depression and attention problems 3 years later after controlling for prior symptom levels, gender, therapy (or not), and medication.
Results highlight the relevance of global self-esteem in the clinical practice, not only with regard to emotional problems, but also to attention problems. Implications for clinicians, parents, and others are discussed.
Rosenberg M. Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton: Princeton University Press; 1965. CrossRef
Britt TW, Doherty K, Schlenker BR. Self-evaluation as a function of self-esteem, performance feedback, and self-presentational role. J Soc Clin Psychol. 1997;16(4):463–83. CrossRef
Leary MR, Tambor ES, Terdal SK, Downs DL. Self-esteem as an interpersonal monitor: the sociometer hypothesis. J Pers Soc Psychol. 1995;68(3):518–30. CrossRef
Leary MR, Schreindorfer LS, Haupt AL. The role of low self-esteem in emotional and behavioral problems: why is low self-esteem dysfunctional? J Soc Clin Psychol. 1995;14(3):297–314. CrossRef
Kernis MH, Grannemann BD, Mathis LC. Stability of self-esteem as a moderator of the relation between level of self-esteem and depression. J Pers Soc Psychol. 1991;61(1):80–4. CrossRef
Rosenberg M, Schooler C, Schoenbach C, Rosenberg F. Global self-esteem and specific self-esteem: different concepts, different outcomes. Am Sociol Rev. 1995;60(1):141–56. CrossRef
Ryan RM, Brown KW. Why we don’t need self-esteem: on fundamental needs, contingent love, and mindfulness. Psych Inq. 2003;14(1):71–6.
Gentile B, Grabe S, Dolan-Pascoe B, Twenge JM, Wells BE, Maitino A. Gender differences in domain-specific self-esteem: a meta-analysis. Rev Gen Psychol. 2009;13(1):34–45. CrossRef
Burish TG, Houston BK. Causal projection, similarity projection, and coping with threat to self-esteem. J Pers. 1979;47(1):57–70. CrossRef
Greenberg J, Pyszczynski T, Solomon S. The causes and consequences of a need for self-esteem: a terror management theory. In: Baumeister RF, editor. Public self and private self. New York: Springer; 1986. p. 189–212. CrossRef
Orth U, Robins RW. Understanding the link between low self-esteem and depression. Curr Dir Psychol Sci. 2013;22(6):455–60. CrossRef
Bandura A. Self-efficacy: toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Pscyhol Rev. 1977;84(2):191–215. CrossRef
Schwarzer R, Bässler J, Kwiatek P, Schröder K. The assessment of optimistic self-beliefs: comparison of the German, Spanish, and Chinese versions of the General Self-efficacy Scale. Appl Psychol. 1997;46(1):69–88. CrossRef
Caye A, Rocha TBM, Anselmi L, Murray J, Menezes AM, Barros FC, Swanson JM. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder trajectories from childhood to young adulthood: evidence from a birth cohort supporting a late-onset syndrome. JAMA Psych. 2016;73(7):705–12. CrossRef
Blascovich J, Tomaka J. Measures of self-esteem. In: Robinson JP, Shaver PR, Wrightsman LS, editors. Measures of personality and social psychological attitudes. New York: Elsevier; 1991. p. 115–60. CrossRef
Robins RW, Hendin HM, Trzesniewski KH. Measuring global self-esteem: construct validation of a single-item measure and the rosenberg self-esteem scale. Personal Soc Psychol Bull. 2001;27(2):151–61. CrossRef
von Soest T. Rosenbergs selvfølelsesskala: validering av en norsk oversettelse (rosenberg’s self-esteem scale: validation of a Norwegian translation). Tidsskrift Norsk Psykologforening. 2005;42:226–8.
Achenbach TM, Rescorla LA. Manual for ASEBA school-age forms & profiles. Burlington: University of Vermont, Research Center for Children, Youth & Families; 2001.
Kline RB. Principles and practice of structural equation modeling. 3rd ed. New York City: Guilford Press; 2011.
Schei J, Nøvik TS, Thomsen PH, Lydersen S, Indredavik MS, Jozefiak T. What predicts a good adolescent to adult transition in ADHD? The role of self-reported resilience. J Attent Disord. 2015. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054715604362.
Dumont M, Provost MA. Resilience in adolescents: protective role of social support, coping strategies, self-esteem, and social activities on experience of stress and depression. J Youth Adolesc. 1999;28(3):343–63. CrossRef
Lazarus RS, Folkman S. Stress, appraisal, and coping. New York: Springer; 1984.
Thoits PA. Stress, coping, and social support processes: where are we? What next? J Health Soc Behav. 1995;35:53–79. CrossRef
Young S. Coping strategies used by adults with ADHD. Personal Ind Diff. 2005;38(4):809–16. CrossRef
Waschbusch DA, Andrade BF, King S. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. In: Essau CA, editor. Child and adolescent psychopathology: theoretical and clinical implications. New York: Routledge; 2006. p. 52–77.
Tseng W-L, Kawabata Y, Gau SSF, Crick NR. Symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and peer functioning: a transactional model of development. J Abn Child Psychol. 2014;42(8):1353–65. CrossRef
Larsson J-O, Larsson H, Lichtenstein P. Genetic and environmental contributions to stability and change of ADHD symptoms between 8 and 13 years of age: a longitudinal twin study. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psych. 2004;43(10):1267–75. CrossRef
Derdikman-Eiron R, Indredavik MS, Bratberg GH, Taraldsen G, Bakken IJ, Colton M. Gender differences in subjective well-being, self-esteem and psychosocial functioning in adolescents with symptoms of anxiety and depression: findings from the Nord-Trøndelag health study. Scand J Psychol. 2011;52(3):261–7. CrossRefPubMed
Ranøyen I, Klöckner CA, Wallander J, Jozefiak T. Associations between internalizing problems in adolescent daughters versus sons and mental health problems in mothers versus fathers (The HUNT study). J Child Fam Stud. 2014;24:2008–20. CrossRef
- The role of self-esteem in the development of psychiatric problems: a three-year prospective study in a clinical sample of adolescents
Ingvild Oxås Henriksen
Marit Sæbø Indredavik
- BioMed Central