What Factors Affect Self-Esteem in Teenagers?

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  • Written By: Kathleen Howard
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 20 January 2019
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Many teenagers struggle with low self esteem, especially during puberty and throughout high school. There are several important factors that affect self-esteem in teenagers. Teenagers are often affected by their hormones and the changes that they are experiencing during puberty. Researchers also believe that physical appearance, social interactions, scholastic performance, and family all play an important role.

As a teenager goes through puberty, large amounts of new hormones are released inside his or her body. The surge in hormone levels can cause mood swings, depression and poor body image. It’s normal for teenagers to feel insecure about the physical changes that they are experiencing. Delayed puberty also can affect self-esteem in teenagers. Teens who are late to mature often feel self-conscious about their failure to go through puberty at the same time as their peers.

Physical appearance affects self-esteem in teenagers both during and after puberty. Studies have shown that most teenage girls would change their appearance if given the chance. Research has also found that obese teens are more likely to have low self-esteem. Teenagers feel an immense pressure to wear fashionable clothes, stay thin and meet the standards of beauty that are portrayed in the media.


Social interactions also play a role in teens’ self-esteem in high school. Students who have trouble forming relationships with their peers frequently suffer from low self-esteem. Most students hope to be popular and fit into a certain social circle. When a teenager feels isolated or disliked, he or she might begin to define himself or herself as a social outcast. During the teenage years, much of a person’s confidence comes from the acceptance and approval of his or her peers.

The acceptance of one’s family, however, is just as important as that of his or her peers, if not more. Teenagers who are abused mentally and/or physically commonly suffer from very low self-esteem. It’s important for a teenager to feel loved and valued by family members. A parent’s praise can do wonders for a young person’s self-confidence.

Aside from hoping to be accepted, many teens also hope to excel athletically and scholastically. When a student’s performance does not meet his or her own expectations or the expectations of his or her parents, the student might begin to doubt his or her abilities. Students might question whether they are as smart or gifted as their classmates, when in reality their expectations are simply unrealistic.

Excelling in school can have a positive impact on self-esteem in students. High self-esteem often comes from a teenager’s scholastic and athletic achievements, as well as the recognition of his or her achievements. Teens who feel valued by their families and peers are happier and more confident. Although many of these factors continue to affect people throughout their adult lives, they have the greatest effect on self-esteem in teenagers.


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Post 3

Is self esteem in teenage girls generally lower than teenage boys? I seem to have that impression. Does it have to do with variances in puberty?

Post 2

I think that family life is the biggest factor that affects self esteem in teenagers. I believe that we gain our sense of self-worth through our relationship and interactions with parents.

If parents do not make a child or teenager feel loved and valued, I don't think that teenager can have high self esteem. It all starts at home. Children who are loved, respected and encouraged will love themselves and feel competent. This will carry on to their school life and social life.

I'm not saying that we should blame parents for everything, that is definitely not the case. I just want to warn parents that they may have more to do with their child's self esteem than they realize.

Post 1

I had poor self esteem growing up. I was basically an outcast because of my different background, extra weight and shyness. It was worst during my teenage years because suddenly, I felt a greater urge to fit in and to be liked. These were also the years when we started taking notice of the opposite sex. Although it is fairly early, may teenagers are dating and have steady "relationships." So in addition to physical appearance and popularity, this becomes one more issue that weighs down on teenagers' self esteem.

I wish I knew then what I know now. As we get older, we realize that none of these things matter. But the world did not seem that way at

that age. If any teenagers are reading this, please relax and just enjoy life. It's not worth getting stressed about. Also, pick your friends wisely because good friends will help you succeed and they will make you feel valued. Whereas bad friends will cause you to make mistakes and will make you feel bad about yourself.

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