Self Esteem Facts and Statistics

Written by Karl Perera MA, DipLC.

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So you’re interested to know the facts about self esteem? Not just any facts but reliable and interesting facts that will inform you and help you understand the issue in greater depth? Did you know that as much as 85% of people in the world have suffered from low self esteem, this is according to Dr. Joe Rubino. There are many negative effects of low self esteem including depression, poor body image, lack of confidence and social fears, but what are the numbers behind all these explanations? let’s take a look.

What statistics are there on the Self esteem of Girls?

70% of girls do not consider themselves good enough in some way compared to others. It might be body image, academic success at school or college or in relationships. It is a fairly well know fact that girls, on average, have lower self esteem than boys at the same age. Also, body image is more important for girls it appears, although still a factor for males.

Self Esteem Statistics for Women

One very interesting statistic from the National Report on Self Esteem, (2008):

98% of women feel that they have to look a certain way and feel pressure as a result of this.

90% of eating disorders occur in women. (National Association for Self Esteem)

The first statistic shows how much pressure appears to be on women these days as the media, both online and offline bombards women with images of how they should look. Women do feel pressurised to improve how they look and feel. It starts when girls are in their teens and can lead to a whole host of problems with body image and mental health issues stemming from the need to look a certain way.

We all have seen the horrible consequences of eating disorders and maybe we have even experienced knowing someone who has an eating disorder. Often women will go to extreme lengths to lose weight and to imitate what they see as the perfect example of how a woman should look. In effect, this is self torture and self denial on a grand scale. Not only is an eating disorder a threat to health but it indicates mental health issues which need treatment. At the heart of this problem is poor levels of self esteem.

Self esteem Facts for Men

Men are judged less for their appearance than women are. However body image is also quite important for men, though less so than for women. With men the concern about body image relates to being attractive to women, (Bradley University, 2021), and seeming young and healthy as men assume this is what women want. For example, men may strive to build muscle or an athletic physique in order to attract women. They may assume that if they are not tall, fit and slim, they are not attractive. For men, going bald is a considerable problem because they consider this as an indication of age and slow down in the body.

Again, as with women, issues with body image can cause men to suffer from depression, anxiety, social isolation and low self esteem.

One illustration of how body image affects young people is given in the results of this survey which showed that for the young males tested 90% of them exercised to build up muscle. As well as working out, approximately 35% also took protein supplements which could affect health according to the research.

However, the focus of men on muscle-building seems to have changed nowadays and we see an increase in male cosmetic surgery and products sold with the aim of helping men to look better. According to this article on the Healthline website, between 1997 and 2018 male cosmetic surgery has increase approximately 325%.

What affects the Self Esteem of Young People?

One problem which unfortunately seems to be growing is cyberbullying. Teenagers and young people in general spend a lot of time online these days. In particular, social media accounts for a large slice of this time online. According to Digital Information World, young people between 16 and 24 spend the most time on social media (3 hours per day). This is three times more than older people between 50 and 64. There is much evidence that connects social media with low self esteem and negative thinking.

Cyberbullying covers many things but can affect as many as 1 in 4 young girls and 18% of boys (according to this study carried out on more than 8,000 young people in Quebec). The effects of cyberbullying include low self esteem, depression, anxiety and even suicidal thoughts. It can be quite terrifying for a young person and may involve threats online or even bribery. While teaching in Cambridge at a college a few years ago I heard horrible accounts of cyberbullying involving threats to shame a girl in front of her friends and family with private material including photos. The victim feared that the photos and other material would be put online for all to see.

Of course cyberbullying can be much less serious but nonetheless may have a damaging affect on a young person’s self esteem and mental health.

Another potential cause of self esteem in young people is obesity. There is a connection between the two and some evidence that obesity in childhood causes low self esteem (Wang et al., 2009).

General Self Esteem Facts and Statistics

By Marcus Winkler

Here’s a very interesting statistic:

According to Sheryl Sandberg, in her book Lean In (2013), a piece of research carried out by Hewlett Packard found that, whereas men applied for jobs that they were only 60% qualified for, women would not apply for such jobs unless they felt they were 100% qualified for. This research has since been discredited but still the point is valid. It is reinforced by this survey from Linkedin (2013), which basically indicates that women do not apply for jobs that are above their current position as often as men do.

Did you know that your level of self esteem can change hourly and may swing from high to low during the day? Many research papers I’ve read explain that it is not so much your category of self esteem that matters most, but your consistency of self esteem. So what you really want is to be stable in terms of how you think about yourself and not constantly feeling positive sometimes and negative at other times.

One highly important fact to remember about self esteem is that you might think that if feedback you get from others such as teachers, colleagues, family or friends is positive your self esteem should be high and if you get negative feedback your self esteem will be low. While there is some truth in this assumption, the fact is that those with low self esteem will tend to ignore positive feedback. Even worse, if you receive negative feedback it may contribute to this low level of self confidence and self-worth.

I hope that this page has helped you understand self esteem much more deeply and this is useful to you. If you would like a way out of low self esteem then the best thing to do is to try self-hypnosis downloads. It comes with my own personal recommendation and I have actually used it to help myself.

References

  • Bradley University. (2021). Male Body Image. https://www.bradley.edu/sites/bodyproject/male-body-image-m-vs-f/men-struggle-w-bi/
  • Cénat, J. M., Hébert, M., Blais, M., Lavoie, F., Guerrier, M., & Derivois, D. (2014). Cyberbullying, psychological distress and self-esteem among youth in Quebec schools. Journal of affective disorders169, 7-9.
  • Digital Information World. (2019). How Much Time Do You Spend on Social Media? https://www.digitalinformationworld.com/2019/01/how-much-time-do-people-spend-social-media-infographic.html
  • Eisenberg, M.E., Wall, M., Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2012). Muscle-enhancing Behaviors Among Adolescent Girls and Boys. https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/early/2012/11/14/peds.2012-0095.full.pdf
  • LinkedIn Gender Insights Report. (2013). https://business.linkedin.com/content/dam/me/business/en-us/talent-solutions-lodestone/body/pdf/Gender-Insights-Report.pdf
  • Wang, F., Wild, T. C., Kipp, W., Kuhle, S., & Veugelers, P. J. (2009). The influence of childhood obesity on the development of self-esteem. Health Rep20(2), 21-27.

Website Author and Your Guide

Karl Perera is a fully qualified Life Coach (DipLC), Teacher (MA), and author of the book Self Esteem Secrets. He has taught at various universities including Durham, Leicester and Anglia Ruskin, Cambridge. He has run More-SelfEsteem.com since 1997 since suffering from low self esteem for more than 25 years overcoming it in his thirties.