Statistics of self esteem

Some Interesting Self Esteem Statistics and Fact You Might Not Be Aware Of

Here are some interesting and insightful self esteem statistics and facts I discovered during the course of my research that really got me thinking.

Did you know that…

A study carried out by Dr Zimet (professor of pediatrics and clinical psychology) revealed that Adolescent boys with high self-esteem are almost 2 and a half times more likely to initiate sexual intercourse than boys with low self-esteem, while Girls with a high self-esteem are three times more likely to delay sexual intercourse than girls with low self-esteem. Source:

It is estimated that around 50 million Americans suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year, ranging from depression to eating disorders. Source: Alexandra Delis-Abrams, Ph.D.

The World Health Organization (WHO) in a worldwide research reports that more deaths are caused by suicide every year than homicide or war. Source: Alexandra Delis-Abrams, Ph.D.

In a study carried out among some female students, 80% of them claimed that their negative body image was linked to the negative remarks made by friends and family. Source:

A survey carried out by Yong Dai, Ph.D., Rebecca F. Nolan, Ph.D., and Qing Zeng, Ph.D. revealed that adolescents who attended church or other religious institutions are more likely to have a higher self esteem than their peers who have no religious affiliation. It suggests that religious institutions play a part in teaching people how to have a positive self esteem and have a healthy view of themselves.

85% of the world’s population are affected by low self esteem. Source: The self esteem book, Dr Joe Rubino.

Low self-esteem is the universal common denominator among literally all people suffering from addictions to any and all mind altering substances such as alcohol, not genes. In the book Alcoholism: A False Stigma: Low Self-Esteem the True Disease, (1996) Candito reports, “Those who have identified themselves as “recovered alcoholics” indicate that low self esteem is the most significant problem in their lives.”

Sheriff Block of Los Angeles County stated, “Children join gangs to fulfill the need to belong and the need to feel important. They want to be somebody rather than be a nobody. We must focus on enhancing the self-worth and self esteem of young people so that they do not seek out and need the gang to satisfy these most basic human needs.”

Self esteem statistics also show that where self esteem programs have been introduced into the school setting, it has been found that such programs can significantly reduce the incidence of anti-social behavior in schools, as well as reduce vandalism and the incidents of verbal or physical aggression by 40-50%. (Reasoner,1992, Borba, 1999)

Hayes and Fors (1990) report that lower self esteem is often the reason why young girls engage in premarital sexual relationships and is more likely to be responsible for teen pregnancies than any other single factor. They found that as self-esteem decreases, sexual attitudes and behavior become more permissive.

Self esteem Statistics from a study conducted on some teenage mums have shown that 85-90% of the teenage mothers elected to keep their babies rather than give them up for adoption in the belief that a baby will provide the kind of unconditional love and acceptance that they feel they never had. Source:

Studies indicate that a typical profile of young girls who become pregnant include:
Being a poor or disengaged student,
Having low self-esteem,
Lacking basic skills,
Looking for someone to love her or something to love.
and frequently coming from a dysfunctional family or been sexually abused. Source:

From these self esteem statistics and facts we are reminded of how damaging it can be when someone doesn’t have a positive view of themselves, it can lead to substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, promiscuity, the list goes on and on.

It becomes apparent that more needs to be done to help people overcome the issue of low self esteem because of the devastating effects it can have on an individual.

This website and the resources available on this website is my way of helping people and equipping people with the skills to overcome low self esteem.

There are also other great self esteem tools and programs that I recommend, which help people win the battle over low self esteem such as Dr Joe Rubino’s Ultimate Self Esteem Formula and Jackson Ogunyemi’s Live your Dreams Program.

Dove: Women’s self-esteem plummets worldwide

Jaime Gordon Duke University Published 12:30 PM EDT Jul 10, 2016

Despite increasingly diverse representation in the media, girls and women worldwide are struggling with body confidence and self-esteem, according to a report by Dove.

Regardless of age or location, it says, 50% of the women surveyed had low self-esteem — a big drop from 2010, when Dove reported that 85% of women surveyed felt confident in their own beauty.

The mega-big personal care brand, which interviewed 10,500 females from 13 countries for the Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report, also found that of that 50%, 70% of girls (10 to 17 years of age) and 85% of women (18 to 64) opt-out of important life events because they feel uncomfortable with the way they look.

Advertising and media, not surprisingly, plays a role in the negative feelings: 69% of women and 65% of girls cited increasing pressures from advertising and media as a major contributor to their appearance anxiety.

These numbers don’t seem to mesh with the growing body positivity movement. Public figures, including Amy Schumer and Lena Dunham, and models Ashley Graham and Tess Holliday, and brands, including American Eagle’s lingerie offspring Aerie, are challenging the stereotypical image of an ideal female body. And social media is filled with body positive images.

Equally important, women in colleges nationwide are celebrating and embracing a wide range of body types.

But low self-esteem is a trend some students say doesn’t surprise them.

“I’ve spent the last four years at a very competitive university where people are always comparing themselves to the others around them,” says Dani Steinberg. The 2016 Duke graduate served as an intern for Duke Student Health and Nutrition Services, and directed the school’s Celebrating our Bodies Week this past spring. “Especially women — you might compare your body to someone else’s. … Everyone wants to be the best. With body image, wanting to be super fit and healthy can get to the point where it’s not healthy anymore.”

Carolyn Ross, an expert on the treatment of eating disorders and author of several books about body image, says while she was surprised by the study’s worldwide implications, she was already aware of the phenomenon within the U.S.

Ross says that body dissatisfaction and anxiety could possibly be exacerbated in collegiate women as they leave their support systems at home and enter a new environment where many activities — such as romantic encounters and the rush process for Greek organizations — are affected by one’s appearance.

“People identify themselves through their bodies and their appearances,” Ross says. “Their evaluation of themselves is dependent on their size, their shape and their appearance. That’s truly detrimental because that’s one of the most common factors in people developing eating disorders.”

Not surprisingly, then, the Dove study also found that 87% of women occasionally refrain from eating because they are unhappy with the way they look.

Ross says that the presence of diverse figures in media might take a while to have a large effect on the self-esteem of average women.

During Celebrating Our Bodies Week, says Steinberg, she organized a short hip-hop class taught by the star of TLC’s My Big Fat Fabulous Life, Whitney Thore. “It’s so easy to be like, ‘That’s awesome, she’s 400 pounds, she’s confident, and she loves herself,’ but it’s a whole different thing to internalize that,” Steinberg says. “You can be a size 2 and still not feel good about your own body.”

But it’s not all bad news for women and girls. The report also writes of a “unique tension,” with 60% of women believing they need to meet certain beauty standards while, at the same time, 77% agreeing it’s important to be their own person and not copy anyone else.

Jaime Gordon is a student at Duke University and a USA TODAY College correspondent.

This story originally appeared on the USA TODAY College blog, a news source produced for college students by student journalists. The blog closed in September of 2017.

Published 12:30 PM EDT Jul 10, 2016

  • “Low self-esteem is actually a thinking disorder in which an individual views himself as inadequate, unworthy, unlovable, and/or incompetent. Once formed, this negative view of self permeates every thought, producing faulty assumptions and ongoing self-defeating behavior. “
  • “Seven in ten girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with friends and family members.”
  • “A girl’s self-esteem is more strongly related to how she views her own body shape and body weight, than how much she actually weighs.”
  • “78% of girls with low self-esteem admit that it is hard to feel good in school when you do not feel good about how you look (compared to 54% of girls with high self-esteem).”
  • “75% of girls with low self-esteem reported engaging in negative activities such as disordered eating, cutting, bullying, smoking, or drinking when feeling badly about themselves (compared to 25% of girls with high self-esteem).”
  • “61% of teen girls with low self-esteem admit to talking badly about themselves (compared to 15% of girls with high self-esteem).”
  • “One of the main factors in teen promiscuity is self-esteem. When a teen has little or no self-confidence, he or she will use sex as a means to build confidence.”

Self-esteem and teenagers

While it can be normal for a teenager to lack confidence at times, people with self-esteem issues normally view themselves differently to how others view them.

Low self-esteem can be particularly hard for young people especially when they’re doing things like starting high school or work, and forming new friendships and relationships. Keep reading to understand self-esteem issues that may come up for your teenager and ways to help your child feel better about themselves and their capabilities.

This can help if you:

  • suspect your child is suffering from low self-esteem
  • want to learn how to build your child’s self-esteem
  • would like to identify the causes of your child’s low self-esteem.

Why your child’s self-esteem is important

Positive self-esteem for teens is important as it allows them to try new things, take healthy risks and solve problems. In turn, their learning and development will be productive and will set them up for a healthy and positive future. A young person with healthy self-esteem is more likely to display positive behavioural characteristics, such as:

  • acting independent and mature
  • taking pride in their accomplishments/acheivements
  • accepting frustration and dealing with it responsibly
  • trying new things and challenges
  • helping others when possible

How can low self-esteem affect my child?

When someone has low self-esteem they tend to avoid situations where they think there’s risk of failure, embarrassment or making mistakes. These can involve school work, making friends, and trying new activities, which are all important parts of a healthy teenage life.

If the low self-esteem is not identified and treated, then it can lead to problems such as:

  • relationship troubles or difficulty making friends
  • -negative moods such as feeling sad, anxious, ashamed or angry
  • low motivation
  • poor body image
  • earlier sexual activity
  • drinking alcohol and/or taking drugs to feel better

What can cause low self-esteem?

How a person feels about themselves is a result of their experiences and how they deal with situations. The most common causes of low self-esteem in teenagers are:

  • unsupportive parents, carers or others that play an influential role in their life
  • friends who are bad influences
  • stressful life events such as divorce or moving houses
  • trauma or abuse
  • poor performance at school or unrealistic goals
  • mood disorders such as depression
  • anxiety
  • bullying or loneliness
  • ongoing medical issues

Signs of low self-esteem

A child with low self-esteem will more than likely be having negative thoughts about their worth and value as a person. Some general signs that your child has low self-esteem include:

  • avoiding new things and not taking up opportunities
  • feeling unloved and unwanted
  • blaming others for their own mistakes
  • -not being able to deal with normal levels of frustration
  • -negative self-talk and comparisons to others
  • fear of failure or embarrassment
  • difficulty making friends
  • low levels of motivation and interest
  • can’t take compliments and shows mixed feelings of anxiety or stress.

There are things you can do to support your child to have positive self-esteem, but it’s also important to remember that teenage self-esteem develops and changes quite frequently overtime. If your child doesn’t show signs of positive self-esteem immediately, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing something wrong!

You can help your child develop positive self-esteem with tips here.

New research by Dove has found almost two-thirds of girls in the UK do not have high body esteem. And what’s worse, it’s making them miss out on key opportunities.

According to the 2017 Dove Global Girls Beauty and Confidence report, 9 in 10 girls in the UK will not spend time with family and friends, participate in activities outside the house, or try out for a team or club if they aren’t happy with the way they look.

The report gives evidence to the increasing beauty standards young girls seem to face in modern times, particularly with the proliferation of social media within young people’s lives.

And although many parents may see social media as a catalyst for negative feelings, and low self-esteem, the report found that many girls in the UK see social media as an outlet to confidently express their individuality.

‘Girls worldwide are harnessing the power of social media to democratise the beauty narrative whether we are a part of it or not,’ says Jes Weiner, Cultural Expert and Adjunct Professor at University of Southern California (USC) Annenberg School of Journalism.


‘They are forming their own online communities to talk about the issues that matter most to their physical and emotional health, and flooding the space with their diverse stories and images.’

Dove interviewed over 5,000 girls aged 10-17 across 14 countries and found that higher levels of body esteem have a lasting impact on girl’s confidence, resilience and life satisfaction.

And while having low self-esteem isn’t a mental health problem in itself, the charity Mind does believe the two are closely linked.

According to the charity there are a number of ways we can improve our self-esteem which includes:

  • Avoiding negative talk
  • Connecting with people who love you
  • Learn to be assertive
  • Set yourself a challenge
  • Focus on your positives
  • Take care of yourself
  • Get support if things get too much

For more information on self-esteem, visit the Mind website.


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Online communities have become an essential part of our adolescents’ lives and could have a direct impact on their mental health. Today, our teens are exposed to thousands of indirect attacks on self-esteem via written messages, pictures, videos, and the like via social networking sites (SNSs). Social media provides distance and anonymity to individuals who like to utilize it as a means of communication with the sole intent to do harm. According to the article How Using Social Media Affects Teenagers | Child Mind Institute, Rachel Ehmke reports that “experts worry that the social media and text messages that have become so integral to teenage life are promoting anxiety and lowering self-esteem.” Cruel and short “punch” lines used to demean and humiliate are the aggressor’s weapon of choice to attack others’ identity, individuality, and other aspects of the victim’s personality. Perpetrators are aware of the short time span they will be allowed in the vast cosmos of competitive social networking; therefore, they use pictures, shocking posts, and simple, short, and concise “punch” lines that will take a moment to read but will have a major impact on many unsuspecting SNS participants. A concise “punch” line will be enough to cause irreparable damage, such as depression, anxiety or stress and the issue pleads for Behavioral Health Care solutions that counteract the negative effect these attacks have on our adolescents’ emotional wellbeing, such as low self-esteem and anxiety issues.

Unfortunately, our cyber-connected teens see social media as the best source of connection and belonging to a particular social group, clique, or interest and letting go of this new channel of communication is not seen as an option. Although social media channels provide our adolescents with greater social assets, this type of social interaction may not always provide the belonging and connection our adolescents are desperately seeking. Studies show that use of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media channels may be related to adolescent low self-esteem and high anxiety symptoms.

Tracking Your Child’s Self-Esteem

According to YoungMinds, a U.K. charity dedicated to improving emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people, children with low self-esteem display behaviours such as negative self-image, finding it hard to keep friendships, inability to deal with failure, tendency to put themselves down, lack of pride in their achievements, and constantly comparing themselves to peers in a negative way, thus paving the way to the need for mental health counselling.

YoungMinds also sustains that “children and young people with low self-esteem are more at risk of developing depression, anxiety, self-harming and other mental health problemsas they struggle to grow into adulthood, and will often find the ups and downs of life in general harder to get through.”

Parents must identify and address unhealthy levels of low self-esteem and anxiety before they affect the child’s level of functioning at school and within their social environment. Although working on improving a child’s self-esteem may prove itself difficult, parents must address the issue before it becomes a barrier to the child’s success in life and social functioning. Addressing children’s self-esteem may entail staying abreast of the latest trends in social networking, identifying the concerning low esteem behaviors in children, and developing unconventional strategies to prevent that children internalize the “punch” lines that are wrecking their teen’s self-worth.

Tackling Your Teen’s Self Esteem

In an article published by the Child Development Institute (CDI), Self-esteem: How to Help Children & Teens Develop a Positive Self Image, the agency noted the importance of self talk to improve self-esteem. According to the CDI, it is important to “teach your child to practice making positive self-statements. Self-talk is very important in everything we do. Psychologists and Mental Health Care providers have found that negative self-talk is behind depression and anxiety. What we think determines how we feel and how we feel determines how we behave. Consequently, it is important to teach children to be positive about how they talk to themselves. “

Parents’ Role

Parental involvement is critical to counteract the negative effects social media may have on their teen’s self-esteem. Social media is notorious for feeding social stereotypes related to race, age, gender, sexual orientation, and disabilities, to name a few. It is important to point out to our adolescents that, what is amusing for some individuals, for many on their list of friends will feel like an attack to their identity, self-worth, and self-esteem.

One way of approaching the subject with your adolescents is addressing the subject without making use of shame or critical statements. Beginning your conversation with current trends and not with “in my time” may be more effective or welcomed by your teens. Clarify that it is important to question other people’s beliefs, values, and behaviors to avoid negative effects on their self-worth. It is significantly important for parents to emphasize to their adolescent children that it is their decision to accept or reject the damage.

Approach with Caution

Approach the topic with caution and with the realization that social media is an unavoidable and essential part of your teen’s life.

At first, it is not going to be easy for parents to engage their children in open conversation about how social media affects their self-esteem. Awareness of context, communication style, and timing is critical when communicating with adolescents. Parents must be fully aware of their child’s personality and identify the best approach for dealing with the topic of preservation of self-esteem with their adolescent children. Most importantly, parents must build a relationship of trust and understanding with their teens. Maintaining wise communication to address teens’ self-esteem is more effective than making unattainable threats such as denying your children access to social media. Pinpointing teens’ accomplishments and personality traits will help them identify the actual source of self-worth.

If you have a teenager at home suffering from anxiety or depression caused by low-self esteem, to learn more about our Behavioral Health services and how to meet with one of our Mental Health Counsellors.

The Confidence Gap In Men And Women: Why It Matters And How To Overcome It

In December of 1920, Amelia Earhart paid to go on her first plane ride. The experience lasted only ten minutes, but it changed the direction of her life: Amelia was determined to be a pilot. It didn’t matter to her that there were only a few women in the field of aviation. Through hard work and challenging conditions, she developed her skills. While other female pilots feared the long journey across the Transatlantic, Amelia’s gutsy determination led her to be first woman to fly it solo. The confidence she possessed was one of her greatest strengths and led her to set many records.

Amelia Earhart was not the only highly competent female pilot during that time in history. Although she was skilled, I don’t believe that is what caused her to be so successful. Rather it was her confidence, her willingness to go after the impossible, and her belief that she could do it. At Zenger Folkman we’ve found that confidence proves to be equally as valuable as competence because it leads to action, attention, and resilience—all traits exemplified during Amelia’s transatlantic flight.

Amelia Earhart’s accomplishments were especially noteworthy at the time, because of her achievements in what had been a male domain. Aviators were nearly all men. Gender differences in confidence are quite dramatic. A study done at Cornell University found that men overestimate their abilities and performance, while women underestimate both. In fact, their actual performance does not differ in quality or quantity.

This female confidence challenge was also described as the “imposter syndrome” by Pauline Claunce and Suzanne Imes. Women frequently express that they don’t feel they deserve their job and are “imposters” who could be found out at any moment. They found that women worry more about being disliked, appearing unattractive, outshining others, or grabbing too much attention.

Men are not exempt from doubting themselves—but they don’t let their doubts stop them as often as women do. A Hewlett Packard internal report found that men apply for a job or promotion when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them. What doomed them was not their actual ability, but rather the decision not to try.

Zenger Folkman’s research shows that as women’s experience increases over time, so does their confidence. The graph below shows that women’s confidence increases more with age than men’s. But consider the many opportunities lost in early years because of fear and lack of confidence.

Building self-confidence

I wish there were definitive steps to build self-confidence and self-esteem, but I don’t think they exist. However, there are a number of things you can do that appear to be related to higher levels of confidence and self-esteem.

  1. Mindset: It has been said that self-confidence is what you think about yourself, and self-esteem is what you think others think of you. To build self-confidence:
  • Focus on the strengths you possess and your achievements, rather than what you don’t do well. Guard carefully against negative self-talk.
  • Radiate optimism and general happiness. They bring life and vitality into conversations. Your outward behavior changes your inner feelings.
  • People are attracted to those who are perceived as “warm” and shy away from those who are perceived as “cold.” The self-confident person is usually described as being warm.
  1. Dress and grooming: These are immediate and tangible signals to others about how you feel about yourself. Beyond that, they have been shown to make a difference in how someone feels about themselves. Bottom line, people feel more confident when they know they look nice.
  2. Posture: Your posture has a strong impact on what you’re feeling inside.
  • Stand tall. Research has shown that when someone stands tall in a position of strength, their inner feelings begin to change.
  • Make and maintain eye contact with others. This conveys interest in others and confidence in yourself.
  • Facial expressions communicate important messages and need to be consistent with words being said. Some estimate that at least 80% of communication comes non-verbally, and facial expression conveys a great deal of information.
  1. Overall manner: How you behave will transmit a feeling of confidence to others. Confident people:
  • Walk briskly, conveying that they have somewhere important to go and something important to do.
  • Laugh with others and cause them to laugh. This does not necessarily come from telling jokes, but usually comes from pleasant banter regarding topics of mutual interest.
  • Speak up in meetings. They don’t sit quietly through discussions, but are an active participant.
  • Interact with many people when put into a large gathering rather than confining themselves to long conversations with two or three for an entire evening.
  • Initiate contact with others, not waiting for others to come to them. Confident people extend themselves to a much larger number of people than their less-confident counterparts.
  1. Speech: What you say and how you say it transmits a great deal about your level of confidence. It also shapes how you feel about yourself. Confident people:
  • Project their voice, making them easily heard and understood.
  • Vary the pitch and tone of their voice. They make their conversation interesting by avoiding monotones and injecting variety.
  • Pause for emphasis—they are not afraid of moments of silence. Not filling every pause further conveys personal feelings of self-worth and confidence. Sometimes these pauses are used to gather time to think, take a deep breath, or refocus a discussion.
  • Use a rich vocabulary, enabling them to be vivid and pre They continue to develop a strong vocabulary, not to impress, but to help ideas come to life. Colorful, visceral words make their communication memorable.
  • They avoid “non-words,” such as “er,” “umm,” and filler-phrases such as “you know.”
  1. Communication practices: Confident individuals use communication practices that convey certainty with others while also making them feel more confident within themselves. For example, they:
  • Frequently ask questions of others, showing intense interest in what others say and in what they are doing.
  • Use metaphors, examples, and stories liberally. Communication comes alive with illustrations that make the abstract more concrete and theoretical ideas easily understood.
  • Use humor to make important points.
  • Confident people are often masters of self-deprecating humor. People of stature and accomplishment are the ones most willing to poke fun at themselves.
  • Express ideas respectfully, never with unnecessary confrontation. If their ideas differ from others, this is more likely to be expressed as, “I see this a little differently,” or, “Help me to understand your reasons for thinking…”

Amelia Earhart had the guts and gumption to take every opportunity even when she was unsure if she was competent enough to do it. No one knows everything, and most people—male and female—have moments of feeling they are imposters trying to prove their competence and worth. The good news is that for women and men, confidence keeps increasing over time.