by Etienne Strebel, swissinfo.ch
The higher your self-esteem, the greater the chance of a successful relationship and improved work and health, according to scientists at Basel University.
Does self-esteem increase success, are people with more of it more successful – or do the two reinforce each other?
Ulrich Orth, professor of psychology at Basel University, and scientists at the University of California analysed the data of 1,824 people aged 16-97 who had spent more than 12 years in the United States (see link).
“We established that self-esteem is more likely to influence success than vice versa,” Orth told swissinfo.ch, adding that self-esteem was a relatively stable part of one’s personality.
“A person’s self-esteem – which can be high or low – will most probably be just as high or low next year and indeed in five or ten years,” he said.
“It’s commonly believed that self-esteem changes when one is made unemployed or achieves significant success at work – or when a relationship breaks up. But our data show this is actually rarely the case.”
Nature vs nurture
Where does self-esteem come from? Until now there’s been no coherent scientific answer.
“Part of it is nature, but then nurture plays a meaningful role,” Orth said.
However, the appreciation and respect of family, friends or those at work definitely strengthen self-esteem.