How important is self-esteem really?

10 06 2013

I chanced upon the following statement when reading a paper for my psychiatry research.

Empowerment, self-efficacy, hope, and self-responsibility
have become touchstones for the recovery movement
with the assumption that they will bring many
positive outcomes and benefits on their own. However,
many decades of psychological research have shown
that efforts directed at boosting self-esteem and its congeners
do not yield anticipated benefits to individuals;
rather, self-esteem, empowerment, and hope are consequences
of adaptive, productive behavior, and self improvement
which leads to social competence and its
associated rewards.

Which appears to say that self-esteem, on its own doesn’t seem to count for much, and it’s backed by evidence beyond anecdotes or personal experience.

Baumeister RF, Campbell JD, Krueger JI, Vohs KD. Does
high self-esteem cause better performance, interpersonal success,
happiness or healthier lifestyles? Psychol Sci Public
Interest. 2003;4:1–27.

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