The Self-Esteem Age Gap: New Study Reveals Young Women Still Struggling With Self-Worth

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A new study by PsychTests.com comparing the self-esteem of younger and older women reveals that the former continue to battle with self-doubt and an inability to recognize their value.

Young women are still struggling to accept and love themselves.

Young women continue to battle self-esteem issues.

We need to teach girls from a young age that their sense of worth is not tied into their looks or their accomplishments.

Although few women are likely to welcome the aging process, getting older does have its benefits. With experience comes wisdom, and this is particularly true when it comes to self-esteem.

While self-esteem can be rather fragile in youth, as women age they are more likely to understand the importance of self-respect, of asserting themselves, of knowing the difference between destructive and constructive criticism and how to put it to use. They also know not to put much stock in glossy magazines displaying seemingly perfect bodies, or to allow the media to dictate how they should feel about themselves. For younger women, however, these are lessons that still need to be learned.

In their analysis of the 7,287 women who took their Emotional Intelligence Test, researchers at PsychTests discovered a distinct disparity in how younger and older women feel about themselves. Self-esteem, a major facet of emotional intelligence, appeared to play a major role in how the women coped with decisions, challenges, and their own identity. According to PsychTests’ study:

  •     13% of women under the age of 40 don’t believe there is anything that makes them special (compared to 8% of women over 40).
  •     22% of women under the age of 40 harshly criticize and/or insult themselves when they make a mistake or fail (compared to 11% of women over 40).
  •     23% of women under the age of 40 don’t feel confident about a decision unless others approve of it; 18% would rather have someone else make their decisions (compared to 11% and 6% of women over 40, respectively).
  •     43% of women under the age of 40 are not comfortable asking for want they want, like a raise, time off, etc. (compared to 32% of women over 40).
  •     21% of women under the age of 40 feel threatened when dealing with someone who is very assertive (compared to 15% of women over 40).
  •     19% of women under the age of 40 change their attitude, behavior, or appearance in order to please others (compared to 10% of women over 40).
  •     35% of women under the age of 40 have a hard time recognizing their strengths (compared to 18% of women over 40).
  •     30% of women under the age of 40 constantly doubt themselves (compared to 17% of women over 40).
  •     32% of women under the age of 40 panic when assigned a task that is even just slightly above their capabilities (compared to 16% of women over 40).
  •     33% of women under the age of 40 suffer from “imposter syndrome” (the belief that they don’t deserve success/did not earn their accomplishments) and worry that others will see them as a fraud (compared to 18% of women over 40).
  •     15% of women under the age of 40 are not satisfied with their work unless someone else praises it (compared to 6% of women over 40).

“We need to teach girls from a young age that their sense of worth is not tied into their looks or their accomplishments,” explains Dr. Jerabek, president of PsychTests. “It comes from a recognition that they are special simply for being who they are, for having the courage to be themselves. Self-esteem must be established at a very young age, as this particular trait can determine everything from the way a woman dresses to who she dates and the career path she chooses. Self-esteem is really the core of who we are, and is the basis from which we make every decision.”

“Part of the reason why young women still struggle with their self-esteem may have a lot to do with the media. Every decade, the concept of ‘beauty’ changes, and women, particularly younger ones, desperately try to adapt. What ends up happening is that women who don’t fit the ideal – and even those who do, but don’t recognize it – are left feeling like they’re not good enough. This results in a highly fragile and highly volatile self-esteem. But self-esteem goes beyond self-image, so it spreads into other aspects of our life. It’s a representation of how we feel about ourselves as a whole, and a weak self-esteem is a major impediment. Fortunately, this is a trait that can be developed and nurtured. It’s also important to note that self-esteem is often inextricably tied in with emotional intelligence – if you work on one, you’ll likely see improvement in the other,” concludes Dr. Jerabek.

Want to assess your emotional IQ? Check out https://testyourself.psychtests.com/testid/3979

Professional users of this test can download a sample report for the MEIQ - R9 (Multidimensional Emotional Intelligence Quotient - 9th Revision) or request a free demo for any assessment from ARCH Profile’s extensive battery: http://hrtests.archprofile.com/testdrive_gen_1

To learn more about psychological testing, download this free eBook: Spotting Diamonds in the Rough. (http://hrtests.archprofile.com/personality-tests-in-hr)

About PsychTests AIM Inc.
PsychTests AIM Inc. originally appeared on the internet scene in 1996. Since its inception, it has become a pre-eminent provider of psychological assessment products and services to human resource personnel, therapists, academics, researchers and a host of other professionals around the world. PsychTests AIM Inc. staff is comprised of a dedicated team of psychologists, test developers, researchers, statisticians, writers, and artificial intelligence experts (see ARCHProfile.com). The company’s research division, Plumeus Inc., is supported in part by Research and Development Tax Credit awarded by Industry Canada.

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Ilona Jerabek
PsychTests AIM Inc.
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