ArticlePDF Available

Abstract and Figures

Purpose: The present paper investigated gender differences on life satisfaction and self-esteem as well as the association between self-esteem and life satisfaction in Norwegian adolescents aged 13-18 years. The potential moderating role of gender and age in the relation between self-esteem and life satisfaction was also investigated. Methods: A total of 1,239 adolescents from public elementary and secondary schools in mid-Norway participated in the school-based survey study. Mean score differences on the variables used in the study were tested using t tests. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis was used to evaluate the association between self-esteem and life satisfaction, controlled for gender, age, stress, subjective health, and chronic health conditions. Results: The results showed that boys scored higher than girls on both self-esteem and life satisfaction. Self-esteem was positively associated with life satisfaction, explaining 24 % of the variance. However, no interaction effect of gender × self-esteem or age × self-esteem was found in relation to life satisfaction. Conclusion: The results give support for that boys report higher self-esteem and life satisfaction than girls. Self-esteem has a positive role in association with adolescents' life satisfaction, and this relationship is equally strong for both genders and across age.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Self-esteem and life satisfaction in adolescents—gender and age
as potential moderators
Unni K. Moksnes Geir A. Espnes
Accepted: 27 April 2013
ÓSpringer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013
Abstract
Purpose The present paper investigated gender differ-
ences on life satisfaction and self-esteem as well as the
association between self-esteem and life satisfaction in
Norwegian adolescents aged 13–18 years. The potential
moderating role of gender and age in the relation between
self-esteem and life satisfaction was also investigated.
Methods A total of 1,239 adolescents from public ele-
mentary and secondary schools in mid-Norway participated
in the school-based survey study. Mean score differences
on the variables used in the study were tested using ttests.
Hierarchical multiple regression analysis was used to
evaluate the association between self-esteem and life sat-
isfaction, controlled for gender, age, stress, subjective
health, and chronic health conditions.
Results The results showed that boys scored higher than
girls on both self-esteem and life satisfaction. Self-esteem
was positively associated with life satisfaction, explaining
24 % of the variance. However, no interaction effect of
gender 9self-esteem or age 9self-esteem was found in
relation to life satisfaction.
Conclusion The results give support for that boys report
higher self-esteem and life satisfaction than girls. Self-
esteem has a positive role in association with adolescents’
life satisfaction, and this relationship is equally strong for
both genders and across age.
Keywords Subjective well-being Youth Quality of life
Self-esteem
Introduction
Theory and research support the notion that subjective
well-being—an umbrella term concerned with an indi-
vidual’s evaluation of his or her life—is an important
construct for understanding psychological well-being and
overall mental health. These aspects are central corner-
stones in health promotion, seeking to empower people to
improve their overall health [1,2]. Over the years, much
research has been devoted to examining the determinants
of successful development and subjective well-being
during adolescence, and reviews have highlighted the
importance of identifying factors promoting life satisfac-
tion [2]. Adolescence is clearly a distinct and change-
related time in the context of life satisfaction, due to the
multitude of biological, psychological, social, and cogni-
tive changes occurring during this phase [2,3], and global
self-esteem may act as an indicator of how adolescents
face and manage these challenges, which further may
effect on adolescents’ life satisfaction. Much of the
research conducted to date on subjective well-being in
general and life satisfaction in particular has been carried
out primarily on adult populations, although research
investigating life satisfaction in children and adolescents
is increasing [2,4,5].
The construct ‘‘satisfaction with life’’ presents the cog-
nitive component of the multidimensional construct
U. K. Moksnes (&)G. A. Espnes
Research Centre for Health Promotion and Resources HiST/
NTNU, Sør-Trøndelag University College, 7030 Trondheim,
Norway
e-mail: unni.k.moksnes@hist.no
U. K. Moksnes
Faculty of Nursing, Sør-Trøndelag University College,
Trondheim, Norway
G. A. Espnes
Department of Social Work and Health Science, Norwegian
University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
123
Qual Life Res
DOI 10.1007/s11136-013-0427-4
subjective well-being [4]. Pavot and Diener [6] define life
satisfaction as ‘‘a judgemental process, in which individ-
uals assess the quality of their lives on the basis of their
own unique criteria (p. 164).’’ Evaluation of life satisfac-
tion is thus based on a cognitive appraisal of the overall
quality of a person’s life, based on self-selected standards
[6]. Studies report that similar to findings based on adult
populations, most adolescents are satisfied with life,
although there are inconsistent findings regarding the level
of life satisfaction during the adolescent years [3,79].
Further, demographic variables (e.g. gender, socioeco-
nomic status) appear to play a very modest role in relation
to life satisfaction in children and adolescents [2]; however,
studies that have found gender differences generally report
that boys score higher on life satisfaction than girls [3,7].
Life satisfaction is considered to be a central construct
in relation to other emotional, social, and behavioural
constructs, and one of the variables that may have an
impact on life satisfaction during adolescence is self-
esteem [2,10]. Rosenberg [11] defined self-esteem as an
individual’s set of thoughts and feelings about his or her
own worth and importance. This definition reflects the
notion of ‘‘global’’ or ‘‘general’’ self-esteem or self-worth.
Self-esteem is a large part of adolescents’ self-under-
standing and is likely to be a fluctuating and dynamic
construct, susceptible to internal and external influences
during adolescence [12,13]. According to Diener and
Diener [14], both self-esteem and life satisfaction indicate
one’s global evaluations, yet the direction of these eval-
uations is different [15]. Self-esteem reflects an individ-
ual’s perceptions and evaluations of himself or herself,
whereas life satisfaction involves the individual’s evalu-
ation of one’s life as a whole including different areas of
life such as school, family, and friends as well as oneself
[15].
The trend in research has been that boys report higher
self-esteem than girls [16,17] and that girls to a greater
extent than boys report decrease and fluctuations in self-
esteem [18]. However, a study by Erol and Orth [12] found
no significant gender differences in the level of self-esteem.
Studies have also shown that self-esteem seems to increase
during the adolescent years [12,19], whereas other studies
have reported that self-esteem is a stable characteristic that
does not change [20] or even seems to decrease during
adolescence [21].
The importance of self-esteem is underscored by dec-
ades of theory development and research supporting its link
with a range of positive outcomes including psychological
health and well-being during adolescence [2,10,15,22,
23]. Conversely, low self-esteem has been related to
symptoms of depression and anxiety [24,25]. In the face of
challenging life circumstances, high self-esteem may serve
a role as a coping resource and protective factor in that
individuals with high self-esteem are assumed to show
more positive coping and better adjustment in relation to
adverse life events, which may further promote health and
well-being (and, conversely, individuals with relatively
low self-esteem are more vulnerable to this effect) (Orth
et al. [25] and Boden [26] have addressed these issues in
more detail). Previous studies have also shown that self-
esteem is positively associated with life satisfaction both in
adult [4,22] and in adolescent samples [2,10,26], with
correlations ranging between .38 and .50 [10,22]. Self-
esteem therefore seems to play an important role in relation
to how adolescents judge their life as a whole. Meanwhile,
it is not clear whether the strength of this association differs
between gender and age during adolescence.
As described, self-esteem and life satisfaction are rela-
ted constructs which are likely to change and vary with
gender and age during adolescence based on the impact of
developmental shifts, transitions, and challenges occurring
in this period [3,17]. Generating a more thorough under-
standing of the association between self-esteem and life
satisfaction may therefore also require investigating whe-
ther the strength of the association differs between gender
and age during adolescence. The review of Proctor et al.
[2,5] underlines the need for more cross-cultural research
on life satisfaction in adolescents as though the majority of
past research in this area has been conducted in North
America, and mainly on adults. The collection of system-
atic information on this issue is central to public health
professionals in the planning of primary health care for the
adolescent group and may lead to better intervention efforts
to promote adolescents’ optimal development, in reference
to focusing on resources for health and positive
development.
The aim of the present study was to investigate gender
differences on self-esteem and life satisfaction as well as
the association between self-esteem and the outcome of life
satisfaction, when controlling for gender, age, stress, sub-
jective health, and chronic health conditions. The following
hypotheses were proposed:
1. There are gender differences on life satisfaction and
self-esteem, where boys score higher than girls.
2. Self-esteem is significantly associated with life satis-
faction, where a positive association will be found.
3. There are interaction effects of gender 9self-esteem
and age 9self-esteem in relation to life satisfaction.
We assume that a stronger association would be found
for girls than for boys and that this association will
vary across age groups.
Qual Life Res
123
Methods
Participants
The sample came from a cross-sectional survey of public
elementary (school grade 8–10) and secondary schools
(school grade 1–3) in mid-Norway. A total of 1,924 stu-
dents were asked to participate and 1,289 completed
questionnaires, giving a response rate of 67 %. Non-
responses were mainly due to the lack of cooperation by
individuals, students being absent from school when the
questionnaire was administered, or students who declined
to answer the questionnaire. No detailed information is
available for students who did not participate in the study.
The age range of the sample in the present study was
13–18 years, and the data analyses were undertaken for
n=1,239 (790 in elementary school and 449 in secondary
school). In the sample, 636 (51.2 %) were girls and 603
(48.7 %) were boys. Distribution of gender and age in the
sample is presented in Table 1. The mean age for the entire
sample was 15.00 (SD =1.62): for boys 14.99
(SD =1.63) and for girls 15.02 (SD =1.63).
Procedure
The data collection was approved by the Regional Com-
mittee for Medical Research Ethics (REK) and the Nor-
wegian Social Science Data Services (NSD). The
headmaster at each school approved the content of the
questionnaire prior to agreeing to participate in the survey.
The students (and parents of students younger than
16 years) received an information letter that briefly
explained the purpose of the study. It was emphasized that
participation was voluntary and anonymous, that partici-
pants were free to withdraw from the study at any time, and
that the collected information would remain confidential.
In line with research ethical guidelines, written consent was
requested from all participants and, in addition, from their
parents when students were younger than 16 years. Ques-
tionnaire administration was completed in whole class
groups during one regular school period of 45 min. The
data were collected between October and November 2011.
Measures
Life Satisfaction was assessed using the Satisfaction With
Life Scale (SWLS) [27]. This five-item instrument is rated
on a seven-point Likert scale, ranging from (1) strongly
disagree to (7) strongly agree, where a higher score indi-
cates higher life satisfaction. Examples of some items are
as follows: ‘‘In most ways my life is close to my ideal’’ and
‘The conditions of my life are excellent.’’ The SWLS has
been extensively used and is found to be appropriate for
assessing life satisfaction both in adult [4] and in adoles-
cent samples [5]. The internal consistency assessed by
Cronbach’s ahas been found to exceed values of .80 [4,5].
The internal consistency of the SWLS in the present study
showed Cronbach’s alpha a.87.
Self-esteem: Self-esteem was measured using the
Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale [11], a 10-item questionnaire
measuring global self-esteem. The items are rated on a
four-point Likert scale, ranging from (0) strongly disagree
to (3) strongly agree, where higher sum score on the scale
indicates higher levels of global self-esteem. RSE is found
to be a reliable (Cronbach’s acoefficient .86) [16] and
valid measure for global self-esteem through all ages,
including adolescence [28,29]. The scale has been used in
Norwegian studies, with Cronbach’s acoefficient varying
from .80 to .88 [16,30]. Cronbach’s acoefficient for the
present study was .88.
Adolescent stress was assessed using the Adolescent
Stress Questionnaire (ASQ-N). This is originally a 56-item
scale concerning common adolescent stressors, rated on a
5-point Likert scale: 1 (not at all stressful or is irrelevant to
me) to 5 (very stressful). The ASQ has been continuously
developed and validated since the mid-1990s [31], and the
instrument has been successfully tested for use in a Nor-
wegian adolescent sample [32]. Further validations of the
instrument have reduced the scale to 30 items, with high
internal consistency and construct validity [33]. For the
present study, the 30-item scale was used, and items were
summarized to give a total stress score (range 37–174).
Cronbach’s acoefficient for the scale was .95.
Subjective health was measured by one item, ‘‘How is
your health now?’’ The response options were as follows:
1 (bad), 2 (not so good), 3 (good), 4 (very good), and
5 (extremely good). Measuring health among adolescents
using one item has previously been validated [34].
Chronic health conditions were measured with one item,
‘Do you have any prolonged illness or handicap?’’ The
response options were 1 (No) and 2 (Yes).
Table 1 Frequency of gender and age in the sample
Girls Boys Total
13 years 145 148 293
14 years 130 117 247
15 years 132 117 249
16 years 90 89 179
17 years 70 79 149
18 years 67 53 120
Missing 2
N634 603 1,239
Qual Life Res
123
Statistics
All statistical analyses were carried out using SPSS, ver-
sion 20.0 (SPSS 2003). Cronbach’s awas computed to
estimate the internal consistency of all employed instru-
ments. Descriptive statistics of frequencies, means, and
standard deviation were calculated for all instruments, and
independent sample ttest was used to compare gender
mean scores on the scales. To evaluate the strength of the
gender differences on the continuous variables, effect sizes
were calculated, and Cohen [35] has presented some
guidelines for the strength of effects: small (.20), medium
(.50), and large (.80?). Pearson product–moment correla-
tion was used to test bivariate associations between the
variables in the study separately for gender.
Hierarchical multiple regression analysis was used to
evaluate the association between self-esteem and life sat-
isfaction, controlled for gender, age, stress, subjective
health, and chronic health conditions. The interaction effect
of gender 9self-esteem and age 9self-esteem in relation
to life satisfaction was also tested. The continuous vari-
ables in the interaction term were centred before being
entered in the regression analysis. Adolescents’ report on
stress experience, subjective health status, and chronic
health conditions was controlled for in the regression
analysis as scores on life satisfaction are likely to be
affected by these variables. Socioeconomic variables such
as family income and parental education were not included
in the questionnaire and could therefore not be controlled
for in the analyses. The predictor variables were included
in four steps: (1) gender, age; (2) stress, subjective health,
chronic health conditions; (3) self-esteem; and (4) gender 9
self-esteem and age 9self-esteem. Pvalues B.05 were
considered statistically significant.
Results
Correlations and gender differences on the variables
used in the study
Mean scores on life satisfaction, self-esteem, stress, and
subjective health as well as frequency distribution on
chronic health conditions between genders are reported in
Table 2. The results from the independent-samples ttest
showed that boys scored significantly higher than girls on
self-esteem, life satisfaction, and subjective health,
whereas girls scored higher on stress; the strongest gender
difference was found on self-esteem. The results of the
correlation analyses of the scales in the study are presented
separately for gender in Table 3. There were significant,
strong, and positive correlations between self-esteem, life
satisfaction, and subjective health, and inverse significant
correlations were found between stress and each of self-
esteem, life satisfaction, and subjective health for both
boys and girls. Further, age showed a positive and signif-
icant association with stress and an inverse association with
subjective health for girls. For boys, age was only signifi-
cantly associated with life satisfaction, showing an inverse
association.
Table 2 Gender differences on life satisfaction, self-esteem, stress, and health
Boys mean (SD) (n=529) Girls mean (SD) (n=569) Range tvalue Cohen’s d
Self-esteem 30.93 (5.22) 27.30 (5.56) 10–40 -10.66*** 0.67
Life satisfaction 24.14 (6.21) 22.31 (6.01) 5–35 -4.78*** 0.3
Stress 61.20 (23.37) 68.44 (24.07) 37–174 5.16*** 0.31
Subjective health 3.92 (0.96) 3.67 (0.96) One item -4.41*** 0.26
Chronic health conditions Yes No Yes No
Frequency (n) 131 431 162 460
Cases are excluded listwise. *** pB.001
Table 3 Correlations between age, life satisfaction, self-esteem, stress, and subjective health
Age Life satisfaction Self-esteem Stress Subjective health
Age -.19** -.01 -.00 -.03
Life satisfaction -.09 – .62** -.17** .37**
Self-esteem .01 .68** -.28** .42**
Stress .16** -.39** -.42** – -.16**
Subjective health -.09* .46** .46** -.15** –
Correlations for girls are below the diagonal, and correlations for boys are above the diagonal. * pB.05; ** pB.01
Qual Life Res
123
Regression analysis for variables predicting life
satisfaction
Table 3presents the results following the hierarchical
multiple regression analysis investigating the association
between self-esteem and life satisfaction, controlled for
gender, age, stress, subjective health, and chronic health
conditions. Gender and age were significantly associated
with life satisfaction, where boys scored higher than girls,
whereas age showed a weak, negative association with life
satisfaction in all steps of the model. In the second step,
subjective health showed a significant positive association
and stress showed a significant negative association with
life satisfaction. The variable ‘‘chronic health conditions’
was not significantly associated with life satisfaction.
Totally, the covariate variables explained 20 % of the
variance in life satisfaction. In the third step, self-esteem
made a significant and strong increment to the model
controlled for the other variables, showing a positive
association with life satisfaction. Totally, self-esteem
explained 24 % of the variance in life satisfaction. Finally,
the interaction effect of gender 9self-esteem and age 9
self-esteem was non-significant, showing that the strength
of the association between self-esteem and life satisfaction
does not differ significantly between genders or across age
for adolescents. In sum, the model explained 47 % of the
variance in life satisfaction (Table 4).
Discussion
This paper furthers our understanding of the role of self-
esteem in association with life satisfaction in adolescents
aged 13–18 years as well as the potential moderating role
of gender and age on the relation between self-esteem and
life satisfaction. In line with the positive psychology
movement, investigations of adolescents’ life perceptions
may add valuable information in understanding their
achievement and maintenance of happiness and well-being
and self-esteem has been found to be an important char-
acteristic in this context [2]. However, much of the
research conducted on the role of self-esteem in relation to
life satisfaction has been carried out primarily with adult
populations [2,3,9]. Increasing the understanding of this
particular association in adolescents and how it may differ
between gender and age is important in the evaluation of
strategies aimed at promoting positive psychological
adjustment in children and adolescents.
The results of the present study supported our first
hypothesis which showed that there were gender differ-
ences on life satisfaction and self-esteem, where boys
scored higher than girls. In line with the second hypothesis,
there was a strong and positive relation between self-
esteem and life satisfaction, controlled for gender, age,
stress, subjective health, and chronic health conditions,
where self-esteem explained 24 % of the variance in life
satisfaction. Meanwhile, the third hypothesis was not sup-
ported by showing that the interaction effect of gender 9
self-esteem and age 9self-esteem was not significant in
association with life satisfaction.
Life satisfaction is an important construct in positive
psychology and assesses an individual’s overall appraisal
of quality of life based on his or her chosen criteria,
including the perception that one is progressing towards
important life goals [2,4,5]. Measures of life satisfaction
are sensitive to the entire spectrum of personal, behav-
ioural, psychological, and social outcomes, and is an
important construct for understanding well-being and
overall mental health [2]. The present findings showed that
gender seems to be an important correlate to investigate in
relation to life satisfaction as gender differences begin to
increase during adolescence due to psychological and
biological hormonal changes [3,9,36]. Previous studies
have reported that the relationship between demographic
variables and life satisfaction is weak and that those vari-
ables contribute only modestly to the prediction of ado-
lescent life satisfaction [2,37]. However, research that has
found gender differences has generally shown that boys
report higher scores than girls [3,9]. During adolescence,
there is also an increase in self-consciousness and self-
esteem is typically understood to reflect the feeling of
being satisfied with oneself and believing that one is a
person of worth [18,26]. Self-esteem is shaped by indi-
viduals’ appraisals of their own self and how they are
perceived by significant others and is likely to vary
between genders during adolescence as a function of
individual and environmental changes and transitions [12,
38]. The relationship between gender and self-esteem has
been well researched, and in line with the present findings,
studies have typically revealed that boys have a higher self-
esteem than girls during adolescence [16,17].
Overall, the findings in the present study provide support
for and further our understanding of self-esteem as an
important resource in association with adolescents’ life
satisfaction. However, in contrast to our hypothesis, the
association was equally strong in both genders and seemed
to be stable across age when controlling for relevant
covariates of stress, subjective health, and chronic health
conditions. The results thus indicate that whereas the levels
of self-esteem and life satisfaction differ substantially
between genders during adolescence, self-esteem seems to
be an equally positive and strong resource in association
with life satisfaction in both boys and girls. The association
found between self-esteem and life satisfaction in the
present study is supported by previous findings [2,10,19]
and the study of Boden et al. [26] which found a positive
Qual Life Res
123
association between self-esteem at age 15 and life satis-
faction at ages 18, 21, and 25. However, to the authors’
knowledge, previous studies have not investigated the
moderating role of gender and age in the relation between
self-esteem and life satisfaction.
Self-esteem has been found to be an important factor for
retaining psychological health and well-being as well as
positive functioning during adolescence [19,26,38].
Individuals with high self-esteem are assumed to have
better coping resources and are more likely to show better
adjustment in relation to challenges and adversities, which
ultimately may promote subjective well-being [26]. Indi-
viduals with high self-esteem may also seek and receive
more social support, which may facilitate more adaptive
coping behaviours and overall adjustment [2,8,10,15]. On
the other hand, individuals with low self-esteem may
experience to have no comfort in themselves and their
capabilities and to be more challenged regarding the ability
to identify coping resources, and to use them for intended
purposes. This may lead to more vulnerability for negative
health outcomes and lower life satisfaction [24,25,38].
Notwithstanding the genetic and heritable effects of per-
sonality, such as positive and negative affect and temper-
ament, there are many environmental, familial, and social
variables, besides self-esteem and the covariates included
in the present study that also may explain variance in
adolescents’ life satisfaction [2,23].
Although utilizing a positive psychology framework in
order to promote adolescents’ well-being is a complex and
multifaceted task, it is a worthy and important endeavour.
Public health professionals have begun to give greater
attention to the assessment and promotion of youth
developmental assets and the positive aspects of psycho-
logical well-being and adaption [1]. Although the present
Table 4 Summary of the
hierarchical regression analysis
for variables predicting life
satisfaction
Gender: value 0 =boys,
1=girls
*pB.05; ** pB.01;
*** pB.001
Life satisfaction
BSE BbFAdjusted R
2
Step 1
Constant 29.09 1.85
Gender -1.90 .39 -.15***
Age -.33 .12 -.09** 15.42*** .03
Step 2
Constant 21.68 1.94
Gender -.75 .35 -.06*
Age -.16 .11 -.04
Subjective health 2.43 .18 .38***
Stress -.06 .01 -.23***
Chronic health conditions -.77 .40 -.05 68.05*** .23
Step 3
Constant 24.78 1.65
Gender .82 .31 .07**
Age -.31 .09 -.08***
Subjective health 1.03 .17 .16***
Stress -.02 .01 -.06*
Chronic health conditions -.16 .34 -.01
Self-esteem .63 .03 .58*** 143.36*** .47
Step 4
Constant 24.80 1.65
Gender .83 .31 .07**
Age -.31 .09 -.08***
Subjective health 1.03 .17 .16***
Stress -.02 .01 -.07*
Chronic health conditions -.16 .34 -.01
Self-esteem .64 .05 .59***
Self-esteem 9gender -.01 .06 -.01
Self-esteem 9age .00 .02 .01 107.33*** .47
Qual Life Res
123
study does not allow for conclusions regarding causality,
the findings have the potential to inform practices that self-
esteem is an important characteristic to promote in asso-
ciation with adolescents’ life satisfaction. Previous studies
suggest that effective health promotion targeting adoles-
cent populations must be multifaceted and tends to be most
successful when integrated into several settings, such as
school and family, as well as afterschool programmes
[1,34,39]. These are all settings where adolescents meet
with peers and adults and can therefore facilitate intra-
personal and interpersonal functioning through connect-
edness and perceived social support and thereby facilitate
self-esteem and life satisfaction [1,10,23]. Systematic
approaches that aim to develop and strengthen adolescents’
resources will therefore promote positive developmental
outcomes in adolescence.
Limitations
The study should be considered with some limitations in
mind. All findings were based on self-reports and
therefore subjected to potential self-reporting bias. First,
self-reports require that adolescents are at a level of
cognitive development where they are able to reflect and
understand concepts of health and illness. Second, there
is a challenge regarding the adolescents’ ability to
evaluate and report reliably on feelings and complaints
through self-report (e.g. social desirability). This is
especially so in the youngest ones where the abstract
concepts might be difficult to reflect over and therefore
be subject to over- or underreporting. However, the study
of Haugland and Wold [34] concluded that adolescents
aged 14–16 years are able to evaluate and give reliable
information about their subjective health by the use of
questionnaires. The large sample size of the present
study can partially protect against the influences of
potential random error related to self-reporting [34].
Further, it is reasonable that there are other factors, not
included in the present study (e.g. coping, socioeconomic
status, personality, social support, peer status), that are
equally relevant in explaining life satisfaction during
adolescence. More information is needed about the nat-
ure and directionality of the relationship between life
satisfaction and self-esteem beyond the cross-sectional
design which was used in the present study, and it is
likely that the associations found are likely to represent
reciprocal associations. A longitudinal design would have
strengthened the study by allowing changes to be
assessed and compared over time, and this is contem-
plated for future research.
Conclusion
The present study supports the theoretical and empirical
understanding of self-esteem as strongly and positively
related to life satisfaction although the strength of this
association does not differ between genders or across age.
Further, boys scored higher on both life satisfaction and
self-esteem compared to girls. Although longitudinal
studies are needed to explain causal relations between the
variables in the present study, the gender differences found
on life satisfaction and self-esteem may require gender-
specific strategies to support the development of these in
girls. It would also be logical to assume that intervention
efforts facilitating self-esteem, as one target area among an
array of forces, may be central for promoting life satis-
faction and positive functioning in the adolescent group.
Longitudinal research investigating the reciprocal and
dynamic relations between self-esteem and life satisfaction
is needed to investigate causality and the generalizability of
the results.
References
1. Oberle, E., Schonert-Reichl, K. A., & Zumbo, B. D. (2011). Life
satisfaction in early adolescence: Personal, neighbourhood,
school, family, and peer influences. Journal of Youth and Ado-
lescence, 40, 889–901.
2. Proctor, C. L., Linley, P. A., & Maltby, J. (2009). Youth life
satisfaction: A review of the literature. Journal of Happiness
Studies, 10, 583–630.
3. Goldbeck, L., Schmitz, T. G., Besier, T., Herschbach, P., &
Henrich, G. (2007). Life satisfaction decreases during adoles-
cence. Quality of Life Research, 16, 969–979.
4. Pavot, W., & Diener, E. (2008). The satisfaction with life scale
and the emerging construct of life satisfaction. The Journal of
Positive Psychology, 3, 137–152.
5. Proctor, C. L., Linley, P. A., & Maltby, J. (2009). Youth life
satisfaction measures: A review. The Journal of Positive Psy-
chology, 4, 128–144.
6. Pavot, W., & Diener, E. (1993). Review of the satisfaction with
life scale. Psychological Assessment, 5, 164–172.
7. Moksnes, U. K., Løhre, A., & Espnes, G. A. (2012). The asso-
ciation between sense of coherence and life satisfaction in
adolescents. Quality of Life Research,. doi:10.1007/s11136-
012-0249-9.
8. Park, N. (2004). The role of subjective well-being in positive
youth development. The Annals of the American Academy, 591,
25–39.
9. Salmela-Aro, K., & Tuominen-Soini, H. (2010). Adolescents’ life
satisfaction during the transition to post-comprehensive educa-
tion: Antecedents and consequences. Journal of Happiness
Studies, 11, 683–701.
10. Gilman, R., & Huebner, S. (2006). Characteristics of adolescents
who report very high life satisfaction. Journal of Youth and
Adolescence, 35, 311–319.
11. Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and the adolescent self-image.
Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Qual Life Res
123
12. Erol, R. Y., & Orth, U. (2011). Self-esteem development from
age 14 to 30 years: A longitudinal study. Journal of Personality
and Social Psychology, 101, 607–619.
13. Ra
¨ty, L. K. A., Larsson, G., So
¨derfeldt, B. A., & Wilde Larsson,
B. M. (2005). Psychosocial aspects of health in adolescence: The
influence of gender, and general self-concept. Journal of Ado-
lescent Health, 36, 530. e21–530. e28.
14. Diener, E., & Diener, M. (1995). Cross-cultural correlates of life
satisfaction and self-esteem. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology, 68, 653–663.
15. Civitci, N., & Civitci, A. (2009). Self-esteem as mediator and
moderator of the relationship between loneliness and life satis-
faction in adolescents. Personality and Individual Differences,
47, 954–958.
16. Moksnes, U. K., Moljord, I. E. O., Espnes, G. A., & Byrne, D. G.
(2010). The association between stress and emotional states in
adolescents: The role of gender and self-esteem. Personality and
Individual Differences, 49, 430–435.
17. Derdikman-Eiron, R., Indredavik, M. S., Bratberg, G. H., Tar-
aldsen, G., Bakken, I. J., & Colton, M. (2011). Gender differences
in subjective well-being, self-esteem and psychosocial function-
ing in adolescents symptoms of anxiety and depression: Findings
from the Nord- Trøndelag health study. Scandinavian Journal of
Psychology, 52, 261–267.
18. Baldwin, S. A., & Hoffmann, J. P. (2002). The dynamics of self-
esteem: A growth curve analysis. Journal of Youth and Adoles-
cence, 31, 101–103.
19. Birkeland, M. S., Melkevik, O., Holsen, I., & Wold, B. (2012).
Trajectories of global self-esteem development during adoles-
cence. Journal of Adolescence, 35, 43–54.
20. Young, J. F., & Mroczek, D. K. (2003). Predicting intra-indi-
vidual self-concept trajectories during adolescence. Journal of
Adolescence, 26, 586–600.
21. Robins, R. W., Trzesniewski, K. H., Tracy, J. L., Gosling, S. D.,
& Potter, J. (2002). Global self-esteem across the life span.
Psychology and Aging, 17, 423–434.
22. Arslan, C., Hamarta, E., & Uslu, M. (2010). The relationship
between conflict communication, self-esteem and life satisfaction
in university students. Educational Research and Reviews, 5,
31–34.
23. Suldo, S. M., & Huebner, S. (2006). Is extremely high life sat-
isfaction during adolescence advantageous? Social Indicators
Research, 78, 179–203.
24. Moksnes, U. K., & Espnes, G. A. (2012). Self-esteem and emo-
tional health in adolescents–gender and age as potential moder-
ators. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 53, 483–489.
25. Orth, U., Robins, R. W., Trzesniewski, K. H., Maes, J., & Sch-
mitt, M. (2009). Low self-esteem is a risk factor for depressive
symptoms from young adulthood to old age. Journal of Abnormal
Psychology, 118, 472–478.
26. Boden, J. M., Fergusson, D. M., & Horwood, L. J. (2008). Does
adolescent self-esteem predict later life outcomes? A test of the
causal role of self-esteem. Development and Psychopathology,
20, 319–339.
27. Diener, E., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S. (1985).
The satisfaction with life scale. Journal of Personality and
Assessment, 49, 71–75.
28. Chiu, L.-H. (1988). Testing the test: Measures of self-esteem for
school age children. Journal of Counseling and Development, 66,
298–301.
29. Gray-Little, B., Williams, V. S. L., & Hancock, T. D. (1997). An
item response theory analysis of the Rosenberg Self-Esteem
Scale. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 23, 443–451.
30. Dieserud, G., Roysamb, E., Ekeberg, O., & Kraft, P. (2001).
Toward an integrative model of suicide attempt: A cognitive
psychological approach. Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior,
3, 153–168.
31. Byrne, D. G., Davenport, S. C., & Mazanov, J. (2007). Profiles of
adolescent stress: The development of the adolescent stress
questionnaire (ASQ). Journal of Adolescence, 30, 393–416.
32. Moksnes, U. K., Byrne, D. G., Mazanov, J., & Espnes, G. A.
(2010). Adolescent stress: Evaluation of the factor structure of the
Adolescent Stress Questionnaire. Scandinavian Journal of Psy-
chology, 51, 203–209.
33. Moksnes, U. K., & Espnes, G. A. (2011). Evaluation of the
Norwegian version of the Adolescent Stress Questionnaire.
Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 2011(52), 601–608.
34. Haugland, S., & Wold, B. (2001). Subjective health complaints in
adolescence—Reliability and validity of survey methods. Journal
of Adolescence, 24, 611–624.
35. Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral
sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Earlbaum Associates.
36. Schimmack, U., & Oishi, S. (2005). The influence of chronically
and temporarily accessible information on life satisfaction
judgements. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 89,
395–406.
37. Piko, B. F., & Hamvai, C. (2010). Parent, school and peer-related
correlates of adolescents’ life satisfaction. Children and Youth
Services Review, 32, 1479–1482.
38. Orth, U., Robins, R. W., & Widaman, K. F. (2011). Life-span
development of self-esteem and its effects on important life
outcomes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 26,
1–18.
39. Natvig, G. K., Hanestad, B. R., & Samdal, O. (2006). The role of
the student: Salutogenic or pathogenic. International Journal of
Nursing Practice, 12, 280–287.
Qual Life Res
123
... Previous studies also illustrate that interpersonal relationships [13,[22][23][24][25], self-esteem [13,14], and life satisfaction [26,27] are significantly associated with depression and anxiety. Moreover, the intercorrelation of these factors was proposed in several studies. ...
... Interpersonal relationships were associated with self-esteem [13,14,19,28] and life satisfaction [29,30]. The influence of life satisfaction on anxiety [26] and self-esteem [27] were presented in a previous study. Additionally, self-esteem was also associated with anxiety [14]. ...
... A study of college students found that life satisfaction was negatively associated with depression [26]. Interestingly, self-esteem was positively correlated with life satisfaction [27]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Citation: Kienngam, N.; Maneeton, N.; Maneeton, B.; Pojanapotha, P.; Manomaivibul, J.; Kawilapat, S.; Damrongpanit, S. Psychological Factors Influencing Achievement of Senior High School Students.
... Low selfesteem is associated with negative mental health consequences and has been linked with 21 different disorders in the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as diagnostic criteria, associated features, risk factors or consequences (7). On the other hand, high self-esteem has been shown to predict positive mental well-being, including higher levels of happiness (8), life satisfaction (9) and selfenhancement tendencies (10). A unique characteristic of selfesteem is that it is susceptible to change, especially among children and adolescents (11,12). ...
Article
Full-text available
Suicide is a serious social issue and is often treated using psychological interventions. The current systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to investigate the effectiveness of self-esteem-related interventions on suicidal behaviors. A systematic literature search for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) including a self-esteem component was conducted on 29 May 2021 and updated on 4 April 2022. In total, 12 studies were included in the systematic review and five studies were included in the meta-analysis. Small effect sizes were found for suicidal ideation at post intervention [ g = −0.24, 95% CI (−0.48, 0.00)] and a 3-month follow-up [ g = −0.36, 95% CI (−0.62, −0.11)]. However, these results should be interpreted cautiously due to the limited number of included studies and varied sample population. In conclusion, the current review suggests that future intervention studies should incorporate self-esteem enhancement in the treatment of suicidal behaviors, especially for suicidal ideation. Systematic Review Registration https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero/display_record.php?RecordID=250882
... Araştırmada kullanılan değişkenler arasındaki ilişkilere bakıldığında benlik saygısı ile yaşam doyumu arasında pozitif yönlü bir ilişki olduğu tespit edilmiştir. Elde edilen bu bulgu ile Diener ve Diener (1995), Moksnes ve Espnes (2013), Yıldız ve Baytemir (2016) tarafından yapılan araştırma sonuçlarının uyumlu olduğu görülmektedir. Öğrencilerin benlik saygısı ile akademik başarıları arasında pozitif yönlü bir ilişkinin varlığı araştırmanın bir diğer bulgusudur. ...
Article
Full-text available
In the study, it is aimed to determine the effect of self-esteem of logistics students on their life satisfaction and academic achievement and to determine the moderator role of gender in this effect. To this end, data are collected from 278 associate degree students studying at the Department of Logistics through an online questionnaire. In the study, the self-esteem scale, which is one of the sub-dimensions of the “Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale” developed by Rosenberg (1963), the "Life Satisfaction Scale" developed by Diener, Emmons, Larsen and Griffen (1985), and the students' general grade point averages are used to measure academic performance. As the results of the correlation analysis, it is determined that there are positive and significant relationships between students' self-esteem, life satisfaction and academic achievement. According to the results of the structural equation model established within the framework of the model created, it is revealed that students' self-esteem has a positive effect on their life satisfaction and academic achievement. In addition, it is determined that gender has a moderator role in the relationship between self-esteem and life satisfaction. The results obtained are discussed in the light of the findings obtained from previous studies.
... Low self-esteem is a common problem among adolescents that has negative associations with, for instance, life satisfaction and physical and mental well-being (Arsandaux et al., 2020;Moksnes & Espnes, 2013). Further, self-esteem in youths has consistently been associated with internalizing problems such as depression and anxiety (Keane & Loades, 2017;Ngo et al., 2020). ...
Article
Full-text available
Low self-esteem is a common problem among adolescents and is related to psychiatric problems such as depression and anxiety. However, effective and available interventions primarily targeting low self-esteem are scarce, in particular for youths. To address this gap, the aim of this pilot study was to evaluate a novel internet-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (ICBT) program for low self-esteem in adolescents using a randomized controlled design. Fifty-two participants (15-19 years) were recruited and randomly allocated to seven weeks of therapist-supported ICBT (n=26) or to a waitlist control condition (n=26). The primary outcome was the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES). Secondary outcomes measured domain-specific aspects of self-esteem, self-compassion, quality of life, depression and anxiety. The treatment group showed significantly higher levels of self-rated self-esteem compared to the control group at post-treatment, with a large between-group effect-size (RSES, d = 1.18). Further, the treatment had significant positive impact on secondary measures of self-esteem, self-compassion, quality of life, depression and anxiety. The results of this pilot-RCT suggest that ICBT can be effective for treating low self-esteem in adolescents, decrease depression and anxiety levels, and increasing quality of life. Replication of the results in larger samples is needed.
Article
Background Social media use has vastly increased during the past few years, especially among young adults. Studies examining the relationship of social media use with mental health have yielded mixed findings. Additionally, such studies are extremely limited in Greece. The present study aimed to investigate the association between social media use, depressive symptoms and self-esteem among Greek young adults. Method A total of 654 individuals (50.5% male) aged 18-30 years (Μ = 23.62, SD = 2.71) completed self-reported questionnaires regarding social media use, depressive symptoms and self-esteem. Results Increased daily use of YouTube (more than five hours) showed a significant association with higher depressive symptomatology, b = 2.99, 95% CI [.78, 5.20], p = .008, while daily use of Facebook between two and five hours was related to significantly higher self-esteem, b = 1.61, 95% CI [.78, 2.44], p < .001, after adjusting for participants’ gender, age, educational level and employment status. The association of increased daily use of YouTube with depressive symptoms was more pronounced in males than in females. Moreover, self-reported active use of Facebook and Instagram were linked with significantly lower depressive symptoms and higher self-esteem compared to passive involvement. Conclusion The results suggest that social media use is closely related to self-esteem and depressive symptomatology in young adults. These findings may contribute to a deeper clinical understanding of the association between electronic social networking and mental health.
Article
The satisfaction with life scale is a widely used measurement tool. In this study, it was aimed to examine the measurement invariance of the Turkish version of the life satisfaction scale across age. Of the 483 people participating in the study, 198 were men and 285 were women. Participants were divided into two age ranges, 18-24 and 25-43. A first-order single factor solution was provided in both the entire group and all age groups. The findings showed that the configuration invariance was achieved by age groups. however, metric invariance could not be provided for age groups. The absence of equivalent factor loads between the ages of 18-24 and 25-43 means that the latent structure measured by life satisfaction according to age groups does not have the same meaning. Partial metric invariance was obtained when the constraint of the 4th item parameter was freely estimated in further analysis. Subsequent analysis showed that scalar invariance was supported. On the other hand, full rigid invariance could not be obtained, but only partially when the parameter constraint of item 1 was released. In summary, the results of this study reveal that comparison of age groups is possible with invariant items. It is hoped that this research will help us clarify and deepen your inferences about life satisfaction and lifespan.
Article
The current study aimed to explore the relationship between perceived respect of rights and life satisfaction in adolescents. Data from the 2018 Korean Survey on the Rights of Children and Youth were used for analysis. 6167 middle and high school students in South Korea completed a self-reported questionnaire on various aspects of their right experiences and well-being. Hierarchical multiple regressions were performed while controlling for demographic variables, negative affect, and bullying victimization. The final model explained 37.6% of the variance in life satisfaction scores. The results indicate that their subjective evaluation of respect for rights was positively related to overall life satisfaction and accounted for an additional 8.4% of the variance in life satisfaction score above and beyond the effects of demographic factors, negative affect, and bullying victimization. Negative affect was significantly and negatively associated with life satisfaction. However, traditional and cyberbullying victimization had no significant impact on life satisfaction. The current study extends the existing literature through the use of open-ended questions, the inclusion of cyberspace, and examination in a South Korean context. Future studies should consider further investigating the causal relationship between these variables using a longitudinal design.
Book
Full-text available
YASS Young Adult Survey Switzerland Trends, stability and changes in the life of young Swiss adults based on a repetitive cross-sectional data ( 2010-2019)
Article
Full-text available
Our aim was to investigate the impact of the school psychosocial environment, including students’ general attitude towards the school, perception of support from teachers and classmates as well as individual psychosocial factors including self-esteem and loneliness on life satisfaction (LS). Four repeated cross-sectional online questionnaire surveys were carried out between 2011 and 2014, inviting all students in one Hungarian high school. Health status and behaviour were assessed by the Hungarian version of the HBSC questionnaire. Results from the surveys were pooled for analysis (N = 3310 students). Heteroskedastic regression estimating robust variance was used to identify potential determinants of LS. Family wealth perceived to be well-off, self-esteem, and being perceived as a good student were identified to be the most important significant positive contributing factors of LS. Perceived good relations with classmates and teachers and an overall positive attitude to school had smaller but still significant positive effects on LS. Self-esteem was a significant moderator for the effect of perceived difficulty of schoolwork, relation with classmates, and gender. This paper shows that self-esteem is not only an independent factor but also a modifier of some school-related variables on LS. The complex interplay among school-related and individual potential determinants of LS should be taken into account in future research by controlling for their interactions.
Article
Aims Adolescence is an important developmental stage for understanding the role of perceived loneliness and self-esteem on life satisfaction. This study investigated the association between loneliness, self-esteem and the outcome of life satisfaction, as well as potential interaction effects in association with life satisfaction, in a sample of Norwegian adolescents. Methods The study was based on a cross-sectional sample of 1816 adolescents aged 15–21 years. Data were collected in September 2016. The participants reported scores on the five-item Satisfaction with Life Scale, the 10-item Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale and one item assessing loneliness. Control variables included sex, age, perceived family economy, parents’ education, place of birth and perceived bullying. The data were analysed with descriptive and multiple linear regression analysis. Results A significant negative and moderately strong association was found between loneliness and life satisfaction, where the association was stronger for girls than for boys. Self-esteem showed a significant positive and strong association with life satisfaction; however, no significant interaction effect was found. Conclusions The findings show the significant role of both loneliness and self-esteem in association with adolescents’ perception of life satisfaction. The findings support promoting self-esteem, belongingness and social integration in all daily life contexts for adolescents to support their life satisfaction.
Article
Full-text available
The current study used a survey model to analyze 306 university students to investigate relationship between life satisfaction, self-esteem and conflict communication. Data were collected from the Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale, the Satisfaction with Life Scale and Conflict Communication Scale. Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients were determined. The results of the study show that self-esteem is positively correlated with confrontation, emotional expression, self-disclosure and lifesatisfaction. The results also show that life satisfaction is positively correlated with confrontation,emotional expression and self-disclosure.
Chapter
Full-text available
The burgeoning field of positive psychology has highlighted the need to discover what makes life worth living. Within this framework is the exploration of how youths perceive their lives and achieve happiness. Recent research demonstrates that perception of life satisfaction (LS) among youths has important implications for their psychological, social, and educational functioning. An important part of understanding how youths perceive their lives is the incorporation of measurement of life satisfaction, and this article provides a review of the extant measures of youth life satisfaction. Following systematic literature searches, empirical studies (n ¼ 47) of youth LS measures are reviewed. The review provides an overview of each instrument outlining its normative samples, reliability, and validity. Recommended future research directions are briefly discussed.
Article
Full-text available
The Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS) was developed to assess satisfaction with the respondent’s life as a whole. The scale does not assess satisfaction with life domains such as health or finances but allows subjects to integrate and weight these domains in whatever way they choose. Normative data are presented for the scale, which shows good convergent validity with other scales and with other types of assessments of subjective well-being. Life satisfaction as assessed by the SWLS shows a degree of temporal stability (e.g., 54 for 4 years), yet the SWLS has shown sufficient sensitivity to be potentially valuable to detect change in life satisfaction during the course of clinical intervention. Further, the scale shows discriminant validity from emotional well-being measures. The SWLS is recommended as a complement to scales that focus on psychopathology or emotional well-being because it assesses an individuals’ conscious evaluative judgment of his or her life by using the person’s own criteria.
Article
This article reports the development and validation of a scale to measure global life satisfaction, the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS). Among the various components of subjective well-being, the SWLS is narrowly focused to assess global life satisfaction and does not tap related constructs such as positive affect or loneliness. The SWLS is shown to have favorable psychometric properties, including high internal consistency and high temporal reliability. Scores on the SWLS correlate moderately to highly with other measures of subjective well-being, and correlate predictably with specific personality characteristics. It is noted that the SWLS is suited for use with different age groups, and other potential uses of the scale are discussed.
Article
The SWLS consists of 5-items that require a ratingon a 7-point Likert scale. Administration is rarely morethan a minute or 2 and can be completed by interview(including phone) or paper and pencil response. The in-strumentshouldnotbecompletedbyaproxyansweringfortheperson.Itemsofthe SWLSaresummedtocreatea total score that can range from 5 to 35.The SWLS is in the public domain. Permission isnot needed to use it. Further information regardingthe use and interpretation of the SWLS can be foundat the author’s Web site http://internal.psychology.illinois.edu/∼ediener/SWLS.html. The Web site alsoincludes links to translations of the scale into 27languages.
Article
Comprehensive perspectives on well-being that include positive aspects of human life such as subjective wellbeing have recently been proposed. Life satisfaction is the cognitive component of subjective well-being and plays an important role in positive development as an indicator, a predictor, a mediator/moderator, and an out-come. Whereas low life satisfaction is associated with psychological, social, and behavior problems, high life satisfaction is related to good adaptation and optimal mental health among youth. Life satisfaction and positive affect mitigate the negative effects of stressful life events and work against the development of psychological and behavioral problems among youth. Supportive parenting, engagement in challenging activities, positive life events, and high-quality interactions with significant others contribute to the development of life satisfaction. Further longitudinal research into the mechanisms of how life satisfaction plays its role in positive youth development is needed to promote the psychological wellbeing of all youth.
Article
Since its introduction in 1985, the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS; Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 198569. Larsen , RJ , Diener , E and Emmons , RA . 1985. An evaluation of subjective well-being measures. Social Indicators Research, 17: 1–18. [CrossRef], [Web of Science ®], [CSA]View all references) has been heavily used as a measure of the life satisfaction component of subjective well-being. Scores on the SWLS have been shown to correlate with measures of mental health and to be predictive of future behaviors such as suicide attempts. In the area of health psychology, the SWLS has been used to examine the subjective quality of life of people experiencing serious health concerns. At a theoretical level, extensive research conducted since the last review (Pavot & Diener, 199389. Pavot , W and Diener , E . 1993. Review of the Satisfaction With Life Scale. Psychological Assessment, 5: 164–172. [CrossRef]View all references) has more clearly articulated the nature of life satisfaction judgments, and the multiple forces that can exert an influence on such judgments. In this review, we examine the evolving views of life satisfaction, offer updated psychometric data for the SWLS, and discuss future issues in the assessment of life satisfaction.
Article
In this study, the mediator and moderator effects of global self-esteem on the relationship between loneliness and global life satisfaction in adolescents were investigated. The participants were 439 students, between age range of 15–18, who were attending four different high schools in Turkey. Data were collected by using the UCLA loneliness scale, Rosenberg self-esteem scale, and the satisfaction with life scale. Hierarchical regression analysis showed that global self-esteem partially mediated the relationship between loneliness and global life satisfaction. However, global self-esteem did not moderate the relationship between loneliness and global life satisfaction. The results are discussed in terms of the conceptional context.