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ERIC Number: EJ1049593
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jan
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Self-Esteem Is Relatively Stable Late in Life: The Role of Resources in the Health, Self-Regulation, and Social Domains
Wagner, Jenny; Hoppmann, Christiane; Ram, Nilam; Gerstorf, Denis
Developmental Psychology, v51 n1 p136-149 Jan 2015
A large body of research has documented changes in self-esteem across adulthood and individual-difference correlates thereof. However, little is known about whether people maintain their self-esteem until the end of life and what role key risk factors in the health, cognitive, self-regulatory, and social domains play. To examine these questions, we apply growth modeling to 13-year longitudinal data obtained from by now deceased participants of the Berlin Aging Study (N = 462; age 70--103, M = 86.3 years, SD = 8.3; 51% male). Results revealed that self-esteem, on average, does decline in very old age and close to death, but the amount of typical decline is minor. Health-related constraints and disabilities as well as lower control beliefs and higher loneliness were each associated with lower self-esteem late in life. We obtained initial evidence that some of these associations were stronger among the oldest-old participants. Our results corroborate and extend initial reports that self-esteem is, on average, fairly stable into the last years of life. We discuss possible pathways by which common and often severe late-life challenges may undermine an otherwise relatively robust self-esteem system.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A