Is Stress Worse with Low Self Esteem?

  • Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Ask the experts

Are self-esteem and stress related? If you have low self-esteem, are you more likely to become stressed?

Doctor's response

Stress and self-esteem can be related because stress may worsen the symptoms of almost all medical and emotional conditions. So, if you are suffering from depression, mood disorders, or other conditions that result in low self-esteem, you may end up suffering more from stress and less able to manage day-to-day stresses.

The extent and strength of an individual's social support system correlates strongly with their perceptions and experience of stress. People with adequate social support systems report lower stress levels than their less-connected peers. Since people with low self-esteem may also have poor social support systems, low levels of self-esteem could be correlated with a greater perceived level of stress.

When the body is physically and emotionally healthy, it is much easier to live with stress. I believe that low self-esteem compromises our emotional readiness to handle the challenges that invariably come with daily living and therefore increases our experience of stress.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


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Reviewed on 7/6/2017