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Psychol Neuropsychiatr Vieil. 2008 Sep;6(3):167-76. doi: 10.1684/pnv.2008.0135.

[Self-esteem in the elderly].

[Article in French]

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  • 1Département de Psychologie, EA 2114 Psychologie des âges de la vie, Université François Rabelais, Tours.


Self-esteem is an important aspect of the adaptive processes at all stages of life, but especially in older adults. It is linked to the quality of adaptation, well-being, life satisfaction and health. Self-esteem is not related to chronological age, but to the people's quality of social integration and adaptive capacities to cope with life events, including physical and cognitive decline. Thus the aging process does not necessarily results in self-esteem decrease, regardless of the decline in many areas of mental activity. Measures of the self-esteem and interpretation of the pertaining results vary according to various theoretical models. However, the sociocognitive strategies at play for maintaining a high level of self-esteem should be stressed. Social psychology has shown the importance of the Others in such a regulation through group belonging, or psychological processes such as social comparison or causal attribution. Such a perspective underlines the importance of social and institutional environment for the regulation of a positive self-value and hence the interest of taking into account the self-esteem construct while taking with older adults.

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