Feeling pretty down on yourself lately? It may be a matter of age. New research released in the American Psychological Association's "Psychological Bulletin" shows that the average person feels best about themselves when they're in their 60s.
The data was pulled from studies of over 164,000 participants and showed that, while self-esteem can fluctuate throughout a person's life, the average person goes through a patterned increase.
Using that data, a meta-analysis of 331 samples of people ranging from four to 94 years old supported the theory that self-esteem increases until age 60. From 70 to 90, there is a slight drop with a more significant one hitting at around 94 years old.
This new information goes against the common notion that an individual's youth or job success would largely contribute to their self-esteem. While that's not the case, authors Ulrich Orth, Ruth Yasemin Erol, and Eva C. Luciano from the University of Bern declare that "self-esteem truly matters for people's lives."
The authors write that "the findings suggest that, on average, self-esteem increases in early and middle childhood, remains constant in adolescence, increases strongly in young adulthood, continues to increase in middle adulthood, peaks between age 60 and 70 years, and declines in old age and more strongly in very old age."
Why do the 60s seem to be the golden age when it comes to career, income, and social status? "During middle adulthood, most people further invest in their social roles, for example by taking on managerial roles at work, maintaining a satisfying relationship with their spouse or partner and helping their children to become responsible and independent adults," the study's researchers wrote.
The findings may not apply to all people, however. So if you're in your 60s and don't feel like you're at the top of your game, don't feel like you won't peak just because some research said you should have already.