People with high self-esteem aren’t happier, healthier or more successful than self-doubters, concludes a new Florida State study published in the May 2003 issue of Psychological Science in the Public Interest. There’s no evidence that efforts to boost students’ self-esteem raise academic performance or lower rates of violence, drug and alcohol abuse or sexual activity. In some cases, esteem boosting may backfire.
“Indiscriminate praise might just as easily promote narcissism, with its less desirable consequences. Instead, we recommend using praise to boost self-esteem as a reward for socially desirable behavior and self-improvement.”
School bullies report high self-esteem. So do children who stand up to bullies.