Boosting Self-esteem to Help Trusting Others Too


Attachment theory is critical in analyzing personal characteristics and relational behaviors across the lifespan [1] (see also article “Different Types of Attachment and Socio-emotional Development Throughout the Lifespan“). Bowlby’s findings that individuals construct internal representations of the self and others that serve as guidelines on how to behave in social interactions [2] might indeed have an association with self-esteem as self-esteem is integral to how somebody feels about oneself [3].

Research provides evidence that higher self-esteem positively influences friendships as well as attachment (trust) to parents and school [3]. The mediating role of self-esteem for friendship attachment was also already confirmed earlier [4]. The positive effect of increased self-esteem on secure attachment may also favor mental health and subjective well-being [5]. Similar to self-esteem, adult attachment orientation was also found to be connected with emotional intelligence [5].

On the other side, attachment experiences themselves turned out to be decisive for individuals’ positive self-perception, attachment style links to self-esteem [1]. People with personality Type D tend to sense more negative emotions and obstacles to social relationships. While reported 52% of this personality trait are inherited, self-esteem might be a more easily amenable environmental factor capable of influencing Type D personality and the related insecure attachment behavior [1]. From that perspective, despite the strong influence of early attachment formation and genetic dispositions, there are possibilities for corrections towards individuals’ more secure attachment throughout life, i.e., through more trust a more intimate and happy life.

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[1] Huis in ’t Veld, E. M., Vingerhoets, A. J., & Denollet, J. (2011). Attachment style and self-esteem: The mediating role of Type D personality. Personality And Individual Differences, 50(Special Issue on Anxiety (dedicated to the memory of Professor Blazej Szymura), 1099-1103. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2011.01.034

[2] Kang, Y., Lee, J., & Kang, M. (2014). Adult attachment styles, self-esteem, and depressive symptoms: A comparison between postpartum and nonpostpartum women in Korea. Personal Relationships, 21(4), 546-556.

[3] Kocayörük, E., & Şimşek, Ö. F. (2016). Parental Attachment and Adolescents’ Perception of School Alienation: The Mediation Role of Self-Esteem and Adjustment. Journal Of Psychology, 150(4), 405-421.

[4] Bosacki, S., Dane, A., & Marini, Z. (2007). Peer relationships and internalizing problems in adolescents: Mediating role of self-esteem. Emotional & Behavioural Difficulties, 12(4), 261-282. doi:10.1080/13632750701664293

[5] Xu, L., & Xue, Z. (2014). Adult attachment orientations and subjective well-being: Emotional intelligence and self-esteem as moderators. Social Behavior & Personality: An International Journal, 42(8), 1257-1265.