Kutob reports low self-esteem in elementary and middle school girls in California and Arizona manifested as "low academic performance, social isolation, depression, anxiety, fatigue, headaches, and stomachaches" (Kutob, 2010). The low self-esteem was largely caused by cruel teasing and bullying associated with appearance: body weight. Kutob promotes "zero tolerance" for teasing. He blames society for allowing a "mindless acceptance and promotion of stereotypic definitions of personal value based on 'Hollywood' appearance standards."
Self-esteem issues can be cultural
Self-esteem for White and Hispanic girls declined by age 11, but, for Black girls, self-esteem remained the same "between the ages of 9 and 14." The Black girls were immune. As global self-esteem for Black and White children is equal (Jackson, 2009), the difference appears to be cultural.
Chinese children with "absent migrant parents" suffer low self-esteem (Li-Juan, 2010). Loneliness predicts low self-concept, which is restored when their parents spend quality time with them. Here, family affection links to self-esteem and -concept rather than appraisal.
Top down (social) and bottom up (biopsychological)
Low self-esteem for White and Hispanic girls in California and Arizona resulted from negative appraisal rather than self-concepts of appearance. There seem to be distinct internal and external components of low self-esteem and poor self-concept. Mentoring improves self-concept and reduces anxiety, but may not improve school behavior or relationships, and depression may remain (Schmidt, 2007). Bonding in group therapy benefits self-esteem (Marmarosh, 2005), but those who attempt bonding to reduce depression often become more depressed (Cambron, 2010).
Low self-esteem includes normal reactions (Hendel, 2006):
- need to win
- pleasing others
It is also associated with three indicators of psychological distress (Huajian, 2009):
- "low subjective well-being"
Exercise improves self-concept, and hence self-esteem
Cambron, M., & Citelli, L. (2010). Examining the link between friendship contingent self-esteem and the self-propagating cycle of depression. Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology, 29(6), 701-726. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.
Hendel, A. (2006). Restoring Self-Esteem in Adolescent Males. Reclaiming Children & Youth, 15(3), 175-178. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.
Huajian, C., Qiuping, W., & Brown, J. (2009). Is self-esteem a universal need? Evidence from The People's Republic of China. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 12(2), 104-120. doi:10.1111/j.1467-839X.2009.01278.x.
Jackson, L., Yong, Z., Witt, E., Fitzgerald, H., von Eye, A., & Harold, R. (2009). Self-concept, self-esteem, gender, race, and information technology use. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 12(4), 437-440. doi:10.1089/cpb.2008.0286.
Kutob, R., Senf, J., Crago, M., & Shisslak, C. (2010). Concurrent and longitudinal predictors of self-esteem in elementary and middle school girls. Journal of School Health, 80(5), 240-248. doi:10.1111/j.1746-1561.2010.00496.x.
Li-Juan, L., Xun, S., Chun-Li, Z., Yue, W., & Qiang, G. (2010). A survey in rural China of parent-absence through migrant working: The impact on their children's self-concept and loneliness. BMC Public Health, 101-8. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-32.
Marmarosh, C., Holtz, A., & Schottenbauer, M. (2005). Group cohesiveness, group-derived collective self-esteem, group-derived hope, and the well-being of group therapy members. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 9(1), 32-44. doi:10.1037/1089-26126.96.36.199.
Schmidt, M., McVaugh, B., & Jacobi, J. (2007). Is mentoring throughout the fourth and fifth grades associated with improved psychosocial functioning in children?. Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 15(3), 263-276. doi:10.1080/13611260701201943.