Who's No. 1 in Self-Esteem?

Serbia Is Tops, Japan Ranks Lowest, U.S. Is No. 6 in Global Survey

From the WebMD Archives

Sept. 27, 2005 -- Want to boost your self-esteem? Your global neighbors might be able to give you some pointers.

A new international self-esteem survey puts Serbia at the top, Japan at the bottom, and the U.S. in sixth place.

The researchers included David Schmitt, PhD. He is an associate professor and chairman of the psychology department at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill.

The results are due to appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

10 Highest, Lowest Rankings

The countries in the survey's top 10 list for self-esteem are:

  • Serbia
  • Chile
  • Israel
  • Peru
  • Estonia
  • U.S.
  • Turkey
  • Mexico
  • Croatia
  • Austria

The 10 lowest-ranked nations are:

  • South Korea
  • Switzerland
  • Morocco
  • Slovakia
  • Fiji
  • Taiwan
  • Czech Republic
  • Bangladesh
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan

About the Survey

Self-esteem scores were based on anonymous surveys given to nearly 17,000 people in 53 nations. The survey was translated into 28 languages.

Most people who returned a completed survey were college students. Both men and women participated in all countries. The number of participants in each country ranged from 59 in Cyprus to more than 2,700 in the U.S.

The survey asked people to rate how strongly they agreed or disagreed with statements such as "I am able to do things as well as most other people," "I take a positive attitude toward myself," and "All in all, I am inclined to feel that I am a failure."

The survey also covered personality and romantic relationships.

Self-Esteem Patterns

No matter where they lived, people with high self-esteem scores had three things in common:

  • More likely to be extroverts
  • Lower scores for neuroticism
  • More likely to report romantic attachments

High self-esteem may serve "as a natural buffer against anxiety," write Schmitt and colleagues, noting that high self-esteem scores were linked to low neuroticism scores across all cultures.

Cultural Differences

Some cultural differences appeared, especially in the self-competence and self-liking aspects of self-esteem.

People in the most individualistic nations (including the U.S.) tended to rate themselves higher for self-competence than for self-liking. The opposite was true for those in countries that are more oriented to communities, not individuals.

Self-esteem may not get as much attention in some countries. That could make people in those nations more likely to rank themselves in the middle of the spectrum, notes Schmitt.

Continued

Self-Esteem by Nation

Here is the full list of each nation's self-esteem scores:

  • Serbia: 33.59
  • Chile: 33.12
  • Israel: 33.03
  • Peru: 33.01
  • Estonia: 32.63
  • United States: 32.21
  • Turkey: 32.14
  • Mexico: 32.04
  • Croatia: 31.94
  • Austria: 31.78
  • Finland: 31.76
  • Slovenia: 31.74
  • Germany: 31.73
  • Netherlands: 31.60
  • Spain: 31.52
  • Portugal: 31.30
  • Greece: 31.29
  • Congo: 31.28
  • Argentina: 31.24
  • Bolivia: 31.24
  • Cyprus: 31.17
  • Australia: 31.07
  • Botswana: 30.85
  • Zimbabwe: 30.77
  • Italy: 30.56
  • U.K.: 30.55
  • Lebanon: 30.52
  • India: 30.44
  • Brazil: 30.34
  • Poland: 30.34
  • New Zealand: 30.24
  • Canada: 30.22
  • Philippines: 29.98
  • Indonesia: 29.88
  • Latvia: 29.88
  • France: 29.86
  • Malaysia: 29.83
  • Belgium: 29.66
  • Lithuania: 29.60
  • Romania: 29.54
  • Malta: 29.53
  • Tanzania: 29.52
  • Ethiopia: 29.24
  • South Korea: 29.17
  • Switzerland: 29.16
  • Morocco: 29.13
  • Slovakia: 28.94
  • Fiji: 28.91
  • Taiwan: 28.77
  • Czech Republic: 28.47
  • Bangladesh: 27.80
  • Hong Kong: 27.54
  • Japan: 25.50

The authors note that all the surveyed nations had average scores above the midpoint of the scale.

WebMD Health News

Sources

SOURCES: Schmitt, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. News release, Bradley University.
© 2005 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved.

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