Having strong self-esteem is necessary to live a healthy and fulfilled life. But self-esteem doesn’t just happen randomly. There are many factors that affect it, and a new study says your childhood home environment plays a big role in your self-esteem as an adult.
The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology published a study, entitled, “The family environment in early childhood has a long-term effect on self-esteem.” This study gathered data for over 8,000 participants who were born between 1970 and 2001.
Between birth and age 6, researchers conducted biennial interviews with mothers and their children to assess the home environment.
They measured criteria such as how warm and responsive the parents were, along with the child’s cognitive stimulation, whether the home was safe and organized or not, and the relationship dynamics between the parent(s) and child.
Then, from the ages of 8 to 27, participants completed interviews and surveys reporting their self-esteem.
Researchers found that the home environment between the ages of 0 and 6 had a strong correlation with how the participant reported self-esteem as a child and adult. And factors like maternal depression, poverty and the absence of a father significantly lowered the participant’s self esteem
But why is that? According to Ulrich Orth, from the University of Bern, Germany, and study author, this is because “early child-parent interactions affect a person’s pre-conscious representations of who they are and their self worth, eventually becoming deeply embodied in their self concept.”