By Nicholas EmlerLow self-esteem has become one of the most frequently repeated ‘explanations ‘ for social and personal problems ranging from young people’s involvement in violent crime to adult failures to succeed in business. But a major new review of research shows that many of the most commonly-held beliefs about low self-esteem are myths without reliable evidence to support them. Individuals who have an unjustifiably high opinion of themselves can, in many cases, pose a far greater threat to those around them than people whose sense of self-worth is unusually low. Relatively low self-esteem is not a risk factor for delinquency, violence towards others, drug use, alcohol abuse, educational under-attainment or racism. The most important influences on young people’s levels of self-esteem are their parents.
Published for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation by York Publishing Services, 64 Hallfield Road, Layerthorpe, York YO31 7ZQ (01904 430033), price 15 pounds 95p plus 2 pounds p&p.