What is meta-self-awareness

This is the age at which self-confidence is at its highest

Many people have negative feelings about getting older. But in truth, this phase of life is better than its reputation, as researchers at the University of Bern discovered in a meta-analysis. Because at the age of 60, our self-confidence is highest on average.

The scientists analyzed 191 research articles on the subject of self-esteem, including data from almost 165,000 people. Specifically, it was about self-confidence, i.e. trust in one's own skills and competencies.


The age curve - this is how self-confidence develops

The subjects questioned in the long-term studies were four to 94 years old. Overall, the evaluation revealed the following picture: The self-confidence of children develops increasingly between the ages of four and eleven years. With the onset of puberty, this development stagnates - but self-confidence does not decline. This result surprised the researchers; Until now, experts had assumed that self-confidence suffers from the onset of puberty, for example due to social competition among adolescents.

Between the ages of 15 and 30, self-confidence increases sharply, and between 30 and 60 the increase is slower. On average, the highest level of self-confidence is reached at 60 and it remains at this level until around the age of 70. From this point on, self-confidence begins to decline again, albeit only moderately at first. From 90 on, self-confidence drops faster and there is a collapse in the "development curve" of self-confidence.


Life experience strengthens self-confidence

The researchers explain the great self-confidence of 60-70-year-olds with their wealth of life experience: At 60 you have often achieved a lot in your career, many people live in stable relationships and have mastered the upbringing of their children, most of whom are grown up. In old age, on the other hand, physical or cognitive limitations and, in many cases, the loss of a partner have a negative effect on self-confidence.

Happiness is contagious

Strengthening self-confidence - the best tips

However, if you want more self-confidence, you don't have to wait until it grows by itself. A few tricks help to strengthen self-confidence: The main aim is to break down negative thought patterns that have been established over the years and to relearn. The most important tips include "unlearning" negative thoughts and self-criticism, maintaining an upright posture and avoiding comparison with others.

Orth, Ulrich, Ruth Yasemin Erol and Eva C. Luciano (2018): Development of self-esteem from age 4 to 94 years: A meta-analysis of longitudinal studies, in: Psychological bulletin.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/bul0000161