Confidence that is supported by high self-esteem has long been touted as a vital component of living a happy life and having fulfilling interpersonal relationships. But a positive sense of self-worth may also stave off some of the negative effects of aging, according to two new studies.
“Improving self-esteem provides real health benefits in seniors says Sarah Liu, a doctoral candidate from Concordia University. Liu led a study that measured and compared self-esteem, stress, cortisol levels and depression symptoms in 147 participants (age 60 and over), for a period of four years.
By asking questions such as whether the participant felt worthless, then factoring in other potentially influential elements (e.g., marital status, economic situation), Liu and her colleagues found that lower self-esteem led to increased cortisol levels in older men and women, leading them to conclude that high self-esteem could possibly provide elders with a barrier against the negative health effects of high amounts of cortisol.