Send to

Choose Destination
J Abnorm Psychol. 2009 Aug;118(3):472-8. doi: 10.1037/a0015922.

Low self-esteem is a risk factor for depressive symptoms from young adulthood to old age.

Author information

Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis, California, USA.


Data from two large longitudinal studies were used to analyze reciprocal relations between self-esteem and depressive symptoms across the adult life span. Study 1 included 1,685 participants aged 18 to 96 years assessed 4 times over a 9-year period. Study 2 included 2,479 participants aged 18 to 88 years assessed 3 times over a 4-year period. In both studies, cross-lagged regression analyses indicated that low self-esteem predicted subsequent depressive symptoms, but depressive symptoms did not predict subsequent levels of self-esteem. This pattern of results replicated across all age groups, for both affective-cognitive and somatic symptoms of depression, and after controlling for content overlap between the self-esteem and depression scales. The results suggest that low self-esteem operates as a risk factor for depressive symptoms at all phases of the adult life span.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Psychological Association
Loading ...
Support Center