Boosting Self Esteem Prevents Health Problems in Older Adults: Study

First Posted: Mar 13, 2014 06:42 AM EDT

Researchers claim that boosting self esteem is important for seniors as it helps prevent potential health problems.

The study led by researchers at the Concordia University reveals that the elderly entering into their twilight years need to boost their self esteem in order to avoid health hazards associated with this transition into old age.

 The study was led by psychology researchers Sarah Liu and Carsten Wrosch from Concordia University's Centre for Research in Human Development.

In this study the researchers looked at the changes in an individual's self esteem over a period of time. They noticed that when the person's self esteem reduced, the level of stress hormone called cortisol increased. And when self esteem was high, the level of the stress hormone dropped.

This link between self esteem and stress hormone was strong and evident in those who had a history of stress or depression.

The study included 147 adults of age 60 and above. They measured their cortisol levels, self esteem, stress and also symptoms of depression every 24 months. They measured these factors for four years.

With the help of standard questions, the researchers measured the self esteem. They also considered the participant's personal and health factors like economic status, marital status and mortality risk.

Analysis of these details revealed that by maintaining and enhancing self esteem seniors could prevent potential health hazards.

"Because self-esteem is associated with psychological wellbeing and physical health, raising self-esteem would be an ideal way to help prevent health problems later in life. Improving self-esteem provides real health benefits in seniors. The ultimate solution may be to prevent self esteem from declining," says Liu.

The researcher suggests the need for future studies in order to examine the immune function and also to find out how increase in self esteem contributes to healthy aging.

The study was documented in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.

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