Low Self-esteem

Low self-esteem can result from various factors, including genetic factors, physical appearance or weight, socio-economic status, or peer pressure or bullying.[26]

Low self-esteem occasionally leads to suicidal ideation and behaviour. These can include self-imposed isolation, feelings of rejection, dejection, insignificance, and detachment, and increased dissatisfaction with current social relationships. A lack of social support from peers or family tends to create or exacerbate stress on an individual, which can lead to an inability to adjust to current circumstances.[27] Drug abuse and forms of delinquency are common side effects of low self-esteem.[28]


A person with low self-esteem may show some of the following characteristics:[29]

  • Heavy self-criticism and dissatisfaction.[15]
  • Hypersensitivity to criticism with resentment against critics and feelings of being attacked.[15]
  • Chronic indecision and an exaggerated fear of mistakes.[15]
  • Excessive will to please and unwillingness to displease any petitioner.[15]
  • Perfectionism, which can lead to frustration when perfection is not achieved.[15]
  • Neurotic guilt, dwelling on and exaggerating the magnitude of past mistakes.[15]
  • Floating hostility and general defensiveness and irritability without any proximate cause.[15]
  • Pessimism and a general negative outlook.[15]
  • Envy, invidiousness, or general resentment.[15]



15 ^ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzaaabacadae José-Vicente Bonet. Sé amigo de ti mismo: manual de autoestima. 1997. Ed. Sal Terrae. Maliaño (Cantabria, España). ISBN 978-84-293-1133-4.

26. Jones FC (2003). “Low self esteem”. pp. 33. ISSN0745-7014.

27. Judith Johnson, Alex M. Wood, Patricia Gooding, Peter J. Taylor, Nicholas Tarrier, (2011) Resilience to suicidality: The buffering hypothesis. Clinical Psychology Review 31:4, pages 563-591.

28. Spencer, David G. Myers, Steven (2006). Social psychology (3rd Canadian ed. ed.). Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson. pp. 51. ISBN0-07-095202-7.

29. Adapted from J. Gill, “Indispensable Self-Esteem”, in Human Development, vol. 1, 1980.