The life-span development of domain-specific self-esteem

Luciano, Eva C.; Orth, Ulrich (1 April 2016). The life-span development of domain-specific self-esteem (Unpublished). In: 2nd World Conference on Personality. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 31.03.-04.04.2016.

Although previous research has intensively examined the life-span development of global self-esteem, nothing is known about the life-span development of domain-specific self-esteem. In this research, we examined the trajectories of self-esteem in 11 domains, moderators of the trajectories, and the age-graded relations of domain-specific self-esteem with global self-esteem and with the Big Five personality traits. Data come from a nationally representative Swiss sample of individuals aged 16 to 90 years (N = 1,000). Depending on the specific domain, domain-specific self-esteem showed life-span trajectories that were quite different from the quadratic trajectory of global self-esteem. For example, self-esteem in the domains of physical appearance and physical abilities continuously decreased with age. Self-esteem in the domains of physical appearance, social relations, honesty, problem solving, and academic abilities explained a large amount of variance in global self-esteem, whereas self-esteem in the domains of religiosity, physical abilities, mathematics, and verbal abilities did not. Self-esteem in the domain of physical appearance was strongly correlated with global self-esteem in adolescence and young adulthood, but the correlation significantly decreased with age. Controlling for self-esteem in the domain of academic abilities altered the trajectory of global self-esteem, suggesting that self-esteem changes in this domain account for the old-age decline of global self-esteem. Controlling for the Big Five personality traits did not substantially alter the life-span trajectories of either global or domain-specific self-esteem. The findings illustrate that the developmental patterns of domain-specific self-esteem differ, with regard to many domains, from the developmental pattern of global self-esteem and that the relations between domain-specific and global self-esteem change in meaningful ways across the life course.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Developmental Psychology

UniBE Contributor:

Luciano, Eva Christina and Orth, Ulrich


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology




Ulrich Orth

Date Deposited:

29 May 2017 15:09

Last Modified:

31 May 2017 09:47


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