Self-Esteem Research and Development

people walking streetThe self-esteem research and development facets of Embrace Health have woven an innovative tapestry of data, strategies and practice focuses. Embrace Health has been formulating this for over 12 years. Documentation and statistics are available upon request.

Self-esteem reveals advancements in suicide prevention treatments and focuses for anorexia and bulimia. Advancing research to find correlations and data that can enhance and sustain a healthier life for Canadians. Healthcare advancements in personal and social accountability being developed.

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What is the role of self-esteem in bullying?

The foundational beginning and self-esteem research and development first started in 2008 in response to an identified lack of advocacy and support to address the issue of bullying in Canada. Following initial research, we were able to determine that self-esteem is a major factor in bullying victimization. This finding inspired the beginning of Embrace Health Self-Esteem Research and Development and its mission to better understand self-esteem and the impact it has on mental health, wellness, and bullying.

A key component of this initiative was the development of the Embrace Health Self-Esteem Assessment Tool which measures self-esteem in children and youth. The tool focuses on relevant factors that affect children and youth in their everyday lives, such as self-perception, physical self, emotional and mental health, home environment and supports and general well being. Data was obtained through objective and subjective methods, such as surveys and interviews; with research collected from over 12,000 children and youth in ten provinces over the last 10 years. Based on four comparative surveys completed in 2009, 2012, 2016, and 2018, we are now able to report some concerning trends.

Altered self-perception is defined as a feeling, a perception, or an experience about one’s self that may not be accurate and may be heavily influenced by other stimuli such as peers, norms, relationships and trends. A survey of 1,000 students aged 16 to 18 showed an increase in the percentage of students with altered self-perception over the years: in 2009, 64 per cent revealed significant alterations in self-perception; by 2018, the figure was 82 per cent. Altered self-perception, along with relevant factors such as peer pressure, societal norms, relationships and the continual stress that many children and youth are exposed to on a daily basis, may lead to increased anxiety, depression, the risk of self-harm, social isolation, violent and aggressive behaviors, bullying and a variety of other physical and mental health issues.

Similarly, Embrace Health Foundation found that there has been an increase in the impact of peer pressure and societal norms affecting how children and youth feel about themselves. In 2009, 70 per cent of children and youth experienced significant impact from negative stimuli resulting from peer pressure and societal norms. By 2018, it had increased to 78 per cent. Overall, these children and youth struggle to develop their own individuality and feel constant pressure to conform to societal norms which negatively impacts their self-perception and self-esteem.

The Self-Esteem Assessment Tool also found that there is not enough support for children and youth experiencing these conditions and related bullying. A variety of data revealed that although many of the children and youth came from supportive homes, the topic of bullying is not well-discussed. In 2009, 44 per cent of children aged 8 to12 reported having poor home communication and support, which jumped to 58 per cent by 2018. This data was consistent with the findings that children and youth expressed feeling embarrassed or unable to discuss these issues and reported feeling unsupported.

The implications for those affected by bullying include the risk of a lifelong battle with low self-esteem and self-doubt, which could lead to anxiety, depression, and even suicide. Those who have been bullied experience social isolation, may be isolated from society, and face difficulty reaching goals and achieving developmental milestones. More work is needed to address Canada’s relatively high and persistent rate of bullying and to significantly reduce root causes such as low self-esteem. While there are individuals and organizations advocating for awareness, there is more work to be done. Only by working together can we create change.

Embrace Health Foundations’ Self-esteem research and development continues to thrive through this time of change and the metrics have been incredibly valuable in understanding the role of self-esteem and its relevance to adaptation, resilience and mental health.

Data was obtained through objective and subjective methods such as surveys and interviews from families, parents and youth up to 25 years old.
Utilizing the Embrace Health Self-Esteem Assessment Tool using indicators and variables relevant data and findings have been identified through various age groups of children and youth. The self-esteem metrics obtained indicate a key recurring theme of role conflict and identified feelings of powerlessness and increased stress during the pandemic as of March 2020. Sudden changes in roles and school routines created extremes in stress responses such as apprehension and anxiety. The various adaptations in role and daily living, social distancing, wearing masks, further added to the stress response and affected indicators such as self-perception, physical self, emotional and mental health connectedness to self-esteem.

Present data and findings on powerlessness and role conflict are being identified and its potential link to escalated violence and aggression during these times of change. Personal and social accountability data derived from Embrace Health Foundation’s data reveals correlations between self-esteem and accountability are key during times of extreme stress and adaptation.

Data revealed recently that self-reflection and mindfulness has not been a regular practice for children and youth. Mindfulness and self-reflection have become more common in children and youth just since the pandemic has occurred. Mental health awareness has surged and the ideations about its relevance has arrived first hand from living experience and necessity.

A study has recently been started of various age groups in practicing self-reflections and mindfulness yoga to see the effectiveness and relevance of outcomes during the pandemic. This data shall be available in the spring of 2021.

Embrace Health Foundation continues to support the data and relevance self-esteem research and development and its relevance to the mental health and wellness of children and youth.