Entries in Self-Esteem (5)


Checking Your Own Facebook Profile May Boost Self-Esteem

Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- When you think of things to do to improve your self-esteem or self-image, you probably don't think about heading to Facebook. It might actually be the last place you think of, given that a percentage of people leave Facebook because of the negativity on the social network.

But a study out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison has found that looking at your Facebook profile for five minutes can provide a significant boost in self-esteem.

"Most have a very large audience of friends and they selectively present the best version of self, but they do so in an accurate manner," Catalina Toma, an assistant professor of communication arts at University of Wisconsin-Madison who led the study, told ABC News. "We had people look at their own profiles for five minutes and found that they experienced a boost in self-esteem in a deep, unconscious level."

Toma had a group of participants look at their Facebook profiles and then take the Implicit Association Test, which measures how fast people associate positive or negative adjectives with words such as me, my, I and myself. After studying their profile and photos, the group was more inclined to associate themselves with positive and flattering words.

Toma wanted to see if that "significant boost" in self-esteem had any impact on behavior and motivation. Participants were then asked to do a subtraction test, in which they had to subtract the number seven from a series of large numbers. Compared to the control group of those who didn't look at their Facebook profiles, the group with the Facebook-boosted self-esteem didn't try as hard to perform well on the test.

"Facebook gives you a real good image of yourself, but you then don't have to look for that in other ways," she said. "Your motivation to perform well might be reduced because you already feel really good."

Toma found something similar in a study she worked on at Cornell University, from which she earned a PhD. In that study, she and her co-author, Jeff Hancock, asked a group of undergraduates to give a speech. Afterwards a group of participants were allowed to look at their own Facebook profile. When they were given negative feedback on their speech, those participants who looked at their profile were less defensive.

Of course, Facebook isn't always going to have a positive impact on self-worth and image. A study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, found that 9 percent of the Facebook users who took a break from the social network did so because there was too much negativity on the site and it made them feel bad.

Another study, such as one from 2012 conducted by Western Illinois University, found that the exhibitionism on Facebook can negatively impact self-esteem.

A report out of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden similarly found that users who spend more time on Facebook have lower self-esteem.

Toma was clear that not all parts of Facebook can have a positive effect on self-esteem.

"People don't always understand that they, themselves put their best face forward on Facebook and so does everyone else," she said. "It seems like everyone could be having more fun than you are or a more meaningful life. Facebook is a really multifaceted and complex psychological platform."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Students at Texas High School Plan ‘No Makeup’ Day

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(DALLAS) -- Teens at Plano Senior High School in Texas are trying to redefine beauty, rallying students to wear no makeup Friday -- an initiative they’re calling “Operation Beautiful.”

“I just really began to see how I don’t need makeup to be beautiful,” said Madeline Milby, 17, vice president of the student congress and a senior at PSHS, which is in the Dallas suburbs. “There’s so much more to me. It’s your personality, your passion and what’s inside your heart.”

Plano Senior High is a school with 2,500 11th and 12th graders. Milby said she would spend up to an hour and fifteen minutes getting ready for school, putting on makeup and styling her hair. It turned out that a majority of the girls at her school were doing the same. That jump-started the idea of “no makeup day” at PSHS.

“A while back we heard of a school doing this before, and we thought it’d be a really cool idea to bring it to our school,” Milby told ABC News. “The goal for this project is to promote inner beauty and to let girls know it’s not about what’s on the outside but about what’s on the inside, and that’s what makes you beautiful.”

Last semester, Milby, along with senior class president Binna Kim and student congress president Monica Plenger, came up with the idea to get all girls at the school to have one day without makeup.

“I think there’s pressure for girls to look a certain way, to meet a standard. The standard is being pushed through media and magazines and everything,” said Milby. “I’m really hoping it’ll make the girls at school feel more comfortable and see that they’re beautiful without makeup and they don’t need to use makeup to cover up themselves.”

To get the word out and gain support for “no makeup day,” the three best friends and other classmates created a YouTube video explaining the mindset behind “Operation Beautiful.” Teachers showed the video in their classrooms at school.

“We just really want to focus on, not that makeup [is] a bad thing, we’re not trying to say that, you know, don’t wear makeup ever again,” says Kim in the video. “What we really want to do on this day is to prioritize bettering yourself on the inside rather than bettering yourself on the outside.”

In the video, girls who attend PSHS confess they spend up to an hour and a half getting ready for school while boys say they spend only five minutes.

“We challenge you this Friday, March 8, to not wear makeup and support Operation Beautiful,” say subtitles at the end of the video.

While there has mostly been a positive response from girls and boys at PSHS, they’ve heard some negative feedback. Still, Milby said she hopes that all students learn from Operation Beauty apart from their position.

“Guys are in shock. They really are starting to realize how much pressure there is on girls,” said Milby. “We’re all seniors, but we’re hoping about making it a recurring event at school.”

As one male student put it in the Youtube video by quoting teen sensation One Direction, “You don’t need makeup to cover up, because being the way that you are is enough.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Children's Self-Esteem Decreases When Watching More TV, White Boys Excluded

Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Children’s self-esteem generally goes down as TV watching goes up. Still, white boys are the exception, according to a new study published in the journal Communications Research.

Researchers from Indiana University surveyed close to 400 boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 12, of whom 58 percent were black, 48 percent white, to see if there was a correlation between time spent in front of the TV and children’s self-esteem. They tallied the amount of TV watched and had the participants complete an 11-item questionnaire intended to measure overall feelings of self-worth.

The existing research on the impact of TV on children’s health has focused on body image and eating disorders, Nicole Martins, an assistant professor of telecommunications at Indiana University and co-author of the study, told ABC News. Given that children spend more than seven hours a day with some sort of media (computers, TV, video games), examining the influence of media on how they feel about themselves seemed long overdue, she said.

The study authors said that while white male TV characters tend to hold positions of power in prestigious occupations, have a lot of education and beautiful wives, the TV roles of girls and women tend to be less positive and more one-dimensional. Female characters are often sexualized, and success is often measured according to how they look.

Black men and boys are often criminalized on TV, the researchers said, which can affect their feelings of self-worth.

According to the study, self-esteem has significant behavioral and emotional ramifications, and it is often correlated with motivation, persistence and academic achievement, particularly among children.

But Alan Kazdin, a professor of psychology and child psychiatry at Yale University, said self-esteem had not been found to  relate causally to anything at all. While it can be one measure of clinical depression, that does not mean it characterizes or causes depression.

“As citizens, we think of self-esteem as very important,” said Kazdin. “But I deal with aggressive and violent children who have self-esteem that can be much higher than the average child. Yes, every parent wants their child to feel good about themselves, but high self-esteem is not an elixir to get you through life. It is not the protective factor we’d like it to be.”

Building confidence in children, and helping them gain skills and competencies that contribute to a better life, such as learning instruments, playing sports or sticking with a difficult school lesson, will help do that. If children do not have friends, setting up “light play dates” will help build socialization skills, a “really important aspect of life,” Kazdin said.

Martins suggested that parents limit TV time, and as Kazdin suggested, help their kids gain skills that will improve their lives.

“Too much time in front of the screen may displace real-life experiences, such as playing a musical instrument, playing ball in the backyard, that could build a child’s feeling of self-worth,” said Martins. “Another option would be to actively mediate children’s media use so that they can more easily understand fantasy from reality.

“Simple distinctions and conversations like this help mitigate the impact such an image might have on self-esteem and comparisons to media characters,” she said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Study Says Foot 'Bawlers' Are Happier, Have Higher Self-Esteem

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(BLOOMINGTON, Ind.) -- There might not be crying in baseball but there is in college football and psychologists say that's a good thing.

According to a new study released Monday, researchers found that players who tear up after losing a game tend to have higher self-esteem than those who "man-up" and don't show their true emotions.

Researchers at Indiana University-Bloomington also say that college athletes who display physical affection toward other players seem to be happier in whatever they do.

Study researcher Jesse Steinfeldt remarked that players who "are emotionally expressive are more likely to have a mental edge on and off the field."

They mentioned how the media was wrong to have singled out former University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow for crying after his team lost a big game in 2009, even labeling him Tim "Tearbow."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Teens Seek Plastic Surgery to Combat Bullying

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- There is a small but growing number of teenagers who say being teased or bullied prompted them to consider or even undergo cosmetic surgery. Nearly 90,000 teenagers had cosmetic surgery in 2007, and doctors say the numbers are growing.

"I do see a fair amount of parents coming in with their child because of bullying and teasing and feelings of self-consciousness," Dr. Michael Fiorillo, a cosmetic surgeon, said. "My preference is, of course, to work out the issues first, the bullying, the teasing. But there are certain situations where people are mature enough. And surgery is a final resort."

Popular cosmetic surgeries for teenagers include nose jobs, breast reductions, breast augmentations, ear tucks and Botox injections.

But while teens say plastic surgery helps them to gain self-esteem, critics say they're potentially losing on a number of levels.

"The idea of someone getting plastic surgery to avoid bullying seems to me as crazy and worrisome as if a black person were to go to a doctor and say, 'I wanna become white to avoid racism,'" Dr. Ned Hallowell, a child psychiatrist, said. "The problem is clearly with the phenomenon of bullying, and not with the person's nose."

Hallowell said parents who allow their teens to get plastic surgery may be putting them at risk, both psychologically and physically.

"Any time you have any kind of surgery, there's risk of infection, risk of -- the wrong patient getting the wrong procedure," Hallowell said. "So, you [want to] have darn good reasons for doing it. And when you do the risk-benefit analysis, cosmetic surgery, to avoid bullying, unless you are severely deformed, clearly doesn't pass the test."

Hallowell says teens who are determined to have cosmetic surgery should, at the very least, wait until they've reached adulthood.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio