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Self-Esteem in the Adolescence Period


According to Kail and Cavanaugh (2004), self-esteem can be explained to mean the general perception of an individual. He went ahead to explain that it is the way an individual views him or herself in the eyes of society. Self-esteem has to do with the level of satisfaction or achievements of a person. Self-esteem is divided into high self-esteem, medium, and low self-esteem.

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The level of an individual’s self-esteem determines what a person is likely to accomplish in a given project.

High achievers are associated with high self-esteem while low achievers are associated with low self-esteem.

Despite the low achievements by people with low self-esteem, they also suffer from de4pression and dissatisfaction in life.

Development and factors influencing self-esteem

Erikson’s tried to explain the development of human psychology and came up with eight stages from birth to adulthood. All the stages play a major role in the development of self-esteem. If the challenges in any of those stages are not well coped with at the right time, they are likely to affect an individual in later life. Those stages are: hope, will, purpose, competence, fidelity, love, care, and wisdom.

The stage of competence is the stage of school-going when the children develop the sense of Industry versus Inferiority. It is between seven and twelve years. In this stage, the children are concerned with the degree of perfection. They develop an understanding of things and are curious to learn the new idea. Risk-taking is also another trait characterized at this stage such as climbing trees, bike riding among others. This prepares them for their future roles. When the children at this age fail to produce the expected results, they suffer from inferiority as they tend to feel incompetent.

This feeling of inferiority may lead to rebelliousness as a way of expressing their frustrations (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2004). If they are not encouraged by their seniors on their efforts they also develop a sense of incompetence and this affects their aggressiveness of trying new things even in the future. It develops into a lack of confidence hence low self-esteem. Those children, who are constantly encouraged even when they do not produce the desired results, normally develop a sense of industriousness and confidence in trying even the very complex projects, thus raising their self-esteem because they feel they are capable of handling situations on their own. Fidelity stages set in from thirteen to nineteen years.

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It is the stage of Identity versus Role Confusion (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2004). During this stage, the adolescent is normally concerned with the way other people feel about them and especially their peers. They also develop a sexual identity in the latter stages of their adolescence. They are trying to identify with adults and may end up having mixed ideas as to what they are expected to do as well as coping with the strange changes taking place in their bodies. They also develop a sense of identity and are given an opportunity they can explore and experiment with what the adults do. They develop loyalties without basis to it. In this stage, the adolescents suffer a lot because their self-esteem is so much determined by what they think their peers feel about them. In case they feel not appreciated they suffer low self-esteem.

Measures to low self-esteem and very high self-esteem

Low self-esteem leads to an individual who never takes the initiative to handle many situations. Those individuals normally have a low opinion of themselves; suffer loneliness, depressions and may end up committing suicide due to the fact that they feel left out and unimportant in society. On the other side, those with very high esteem may end up being frustrated because they normally have very high expectations which may not be achievable.


To conclude we can therefore say that the school-going age and the adolescence stage usually contribute a great deal in building the esteem of an individual and in determining who a person will become in future. It is therefore important to do all that is expected at those two stages so as to mold a balanced individual and ensure a productive society.


Kail, R. V., & Cavanaugh J. C. (2004). Human development: A life-span view. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

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"Self-Esteem in the Adolescence Period." StudyCorgi, 6 Jan. 2022,

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Self-Esteem in the Adolescence Period'. 6 January.

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