Self-Esteem Helps Avoid Health Problems
Having a high level of self-esteem in older adulthood can have a positive effect on physical as well as mental health, new research shows.
A study by researchers from Concordia University in Montreal analyzed responses from 147 adults aged 60 and older to measure their self-esteem, stress and symptoms of depression every 24 months over four years. The investigators also measured the levels of cortisol, a hormone that’s released when stress levels are high.
The analysis showed that a participant’s cortisol level increased as self-esteem decreased. That link was especially strong for people who had a history of stress or depression.
The degree of self-esteem was measured via standard questions about the subject’s feelings. It took into account factors including economic and marital status, as well as mortality risk.
Results showed that maintaining or even improving self-esteem could help prevent health problems. “Because self-esteem is associated with psychological wellbeing and physical health, raising self-esteem would be an ideal way to help prevent health problems later in life,” researcher Sarah Liu said in a statement.
“Improving self-esteem provides real health benefits in seniors,” Liu said. “The ultimate solution may be to prevent self-esteem from declining.”
The study was published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.