self esteem, or the ability to evaluate oneself objectively and objectively, is a trait often attributed to the Chinese philosopher Confucius.
However, a recent survey conducted by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIFW) found that more than one in 10 Australians reported they have an inflated sense of self-worth.
According to the AIFW, a self-esteem problem can lead to self-harm and depression, and is associated with a variety of health problems including depression, anxiety and mental illness.
Professor Peter Kostov from the University of Sydney’s School of Health Psychology says the self-disgust phenomenon is not unique to Australia, and that similar findings have been found in other cultures.
“There’s a lot of research in other countries where self- esteem is seen as a problem,” he said.
“It’s also seen as an issue for many, many other countries, which I don’t think is necessarily the case here.”
Self-esteem is not a new concept to western cultures.
It’s not a novel concept to Australian culture.
“Prof Kostow says the findings are particularly concerning given that self-confidence has been found to be related to a person’s likelihood of living long-term with mental health issues.”
A person who’s self-confident may have lower levels of depression, they may have a higher risk of suicide, but the relationship between these things is not clear-cut,” he explained.”
What we see is that these things may be linked to individual differences in self-regard and how that affects health outcomes.
“The AIFWA survey also found that people who have an unhealthy self-image were more likely to be at risk of developing mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.”
We don’t know if it’s a direct cause of mental health problems or it’s something that occurs in response to the stress that comes with that self image,” Professor Kostovsky said.
In the study, researchers asked a random sample of more than 1,000 Australians how much they thought they would earn in the next year.
A higher self-assessments of self worth were associated with lower levels or a decrease in self esteem among the people who had been diagnosed with mental illness and anxiety in the previous 12 months.
The results showed that individuals with an unhealthy sense of confidence were also more likely than those who were healthy to report depression, while those who felt low self-respect were more than twice as likely to report anxiety and depression.
The AILW is urging anyone who has experienced a problem with self esteem to seek professional help.”
This survey does not prove that you have a mental health problem, it only indicates that people are concerned about their self-perception and that their level of self esteem is a concern,” Professor Coady said.
Professor Coadier said the AIFFW survey did not examine the impact of mental illness on the self esteem of people, so she is not sure if the findings would apply to people who are experiencing mental health challenges or not.”
These are very, very general findings, and if they apply to any particular group of people who may have some sort of mental problem, then it would be helpful to know,” she said.