• Self-esteem should be viewed as a high, medium or low.

When considering self-esteem it is important to note that both high and low levels can be emotionally and socially harmful for the individual.  Indeed, it is thought an optimum level of self-esteem lies in the middle. Individuals operating within this range are thought to be more socially dominant within relationships.

Research has shown key differences between individuals with high and low self-esteem. For example, people with high self-esteem focus on growth and improvement, whereas people with low self-esteem focus on not making mistakes in life.

Low self-esteem has been shown to be correlated with a number of negative outcomes, such as insecurity, anger, poor self-image, non-risk taker, and depression

People with low self-esteem are more troubled by failure and tend to exaggerate events as being negative.

For example, they often interpret non critical comments as critical. They are more likely to experience social anxiety and low levels of interpersonal confidence. This in turn makes social interaction with others difficult as they feel awkward, shy, conspicuous, and unable to adequately express themselves when interacting with others. Furthermore, low self-esteem individuals tend to be pessimistic towards people and groups within society.

Low Self-Esteem in Teenagers

Self-esteem certainly exists during adolescence (particularly for girls). Researchers have explained this decline to body image and other problems associated with puberty.

Although boys and girls report similar levels of self-esteem during childhood, a gender gap emerges by adolescence, in that adolescent boys have higher self-esteem than adolescent girls.

Girls with low self-esteem appear to be more vulnerable to perceptions of the ideal body image perpetuated in western media (through methods such as airbrushing models on magazine covers).

Also, Research has also shown that low self-esteem is linked to an increased risk of teenage pregnancy.

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