Academic journal article Science and Children

Children's Self-Esteem Established by Age Five

Academic journal article Science and Children

Children's Self-Esteem Established by Age Five

Article excerpt

By age 5, children have a sense of self-esteem comparable in strength to that of adults, according to a new study.

Because self-esteem tends to remain relatively stable across one's life span, the study suggests that it is already in place before children begin kindergarten.

The study shows that the 5-year-olds associated themselves more with "good" than with "bad," and this was equally pronounced in both girls and boys. Children who had high self-esteem and strong gender identity also showed stronger preferences for members of their own gender.

Taken together, the findings show that self-esteem is not only unexpectedly strong in children this young but is also systematically related to other fundamental parts of children's personality, such as in-group preferences and gender identity.

"Self-esteem appears to play a critical role in how children form various social identities. Our findings underscore the importance of the first five years as a foundation for life," says Dario Cvencek, lead author of the study.

The new findings used a newly developed test to assess implicit self-esteem in more than 200 5-year-old children, the youngest age yet to be measured. …

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