Does Low Self-Esteem Make One Vulnerable to Depression?

low self-esteemOur beliefs about ourselves often are in the form of statements and facts; however, they are actually only opinions.[1] Based on our experiences in life, these messages give us a sense of the kind of person we are.1 If we have had an abundance of negative experiences, our beliefs about ourselves are likely to also be negative, which leads to low self-esteem.1 Over time, low self-esteem can cause the development of serious mental conditions, such as depression.1 However, suffering from depression can lead us to perceive our life experiences as negative, which could also lead to low self-esteem.1 A sort of chicken-and-egg problem, researchers still wonder which comes first: low self-esteem or depression.1

Researchers have tried to detangles the highly related concepts of self-esteem and depression through longitudinal research, where people are followed over a period of time.1 The University of Basel researchers Julia Sowislo and Ulrich Orth conducted a study on depression and contrasted the competing directions of self-esteem to depression and depression to self-esteem.1 Overwhelmingly, the findings supported the model that low self-esteem causes depression.1 It is true, in fact, that low self-esteem is a risk factor for depression; however, depression has not been found to significantly cause low self-esteem.1 As low self-esteem exists before depression, it will usually continue during depression.1

Therefore, improving a person’s self-esteem can help to protect them against developing a depressive disorder, as well as make them feel better if they are already diagnosed with one.1 Australian clinical psychologist and self-esteem specialist, Dr. Lars Madsen, states that self-esteem is a crucial factor in both the development and maintenance of depression.1 People who have low self-esteem try not to disprove their negative self-concept, but instead look to verify it by seeking negative feedback from people in their network.1 That is what they feel they deserve. They focus on their inadequacies, focus on the negative feedback given, and become more depressed.1 Also, their negative mood allows them to be perceived as more negative by others, leaving them feeling hurt and rejected.1

The best way to protect a positive mood is to find ways to boost your self-esteem, not tear it down. Everyone has strengths, and focusing on them, trying to further employ them, is a great way to build up your self-esteem. Surrounding yourself with positive people is also important. Negativity is contagious, and can’t be afforded.

[1] Venzin, E. (2014). Is Low Self-Esteem Making You Vulnerable to Depression?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/03/29/is-low-self-esteem-making-you-vulnerable-to-depression/


  • cho ryeon hwang

    April 7, 2014, 2:54 pm


    Hi.. please introduce myself,,I am Cho Ryeon Hwang, Asian,24 years old. I am unemployed. I have been fired from the job I was in twice. I can hardly find any other job bcs of my bad working experience on my cv.
    Since then, I realized that I am a slow learner. I was fired bcs I did mistakes for so many times and didn’t understand the instructions properly.

    Well, I have big problem with learning new thing. I used to be a very hardworker but still there always be some flaws on my work. My supervisor always mad at me like, “I’ve said it so many times!”. They did right thing. I didnt blame my previous supervisors who fired me. All I am blaming is my ability of learning and understanding.

    Because of this,I know my weakness well. This leads me to have a terrible feeling when it comes to talk to someone, I’m always getting nervous and panic when I have to explain something. That’s one of the reason why I got fired. I have bad communication skill. Why, because I am afraid if I’m doing wrong.

    Ever since the last day of my working, I haven’t applied for any job yet. I have traumatic feeling about getting fired. My mom always scold me and asking why I’m not looking for another Job. In fact, I never told this to anyone before include, (especially) my parents. I told them that my contract was terminated because I had to handle another job outside my Job desc. I didn’t tell them the honest reason.

    I can’t even share this to my bestfriends bcs they are the people I am envy with. They are the people I wish I could be. They are now having good position in their company with good salary. I feel so much intimidated when we go out for cinema or just hanging out,, they’re all proudly spending their self-earn money and sharing their working experience. Meanwhile, I am still using my parent’s money,, and the leftover money from my last salary.Things are getting harder for me when they ask what my daily activities are. In fact Im just doing nothing at home.

    I keep telling lies to everyone. I am really afraid to tell the truth and to be judged. Having myself as a slow learner has already become the most hurtful thing I have to face.

    Now I am fighting so much againts my own anxiety and low self esteem. I am so afraid what if I never get a proper job.
    I am really expecting for you to do me a favor about what to do? What am I supposed to do ?
    I am so much thankful for your help..

    Best Regards
    Cho Ryeon Hwang

    • Meghan LaCasse

      April 10, 2014, 12:41 am

      Hi Cho,

      A great American writer, Dr. Seuss, once wrote, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” Each and every person has something unique to contribute to society—it’s a fact. It sounds like you haven’t found your niche, the place where you belong professionally.

      Don’t let the past stop you, or frighten you, from pursuing your future. You have a bright one ahead of you. As you said, you know your weaknesses well, but what about your strengths? Make a list of them, personality traits included. Read them to yourself. Remember them. Look for a job where those strengths are used. What are you passionate about? Look for a job within those fields.

      You should never be ashamed of yourself, Cho. You have so many people who love you and believe in you. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking with them about your situation, for fear that they will not understand your feelings beyond the situation, setting up an appointment with a therapist can help pull you up, out of this little “rut.” A therapist can also help you find a place that helps people with learning disabilities improve and find employment.

      If you have insurance, give them a call and ask which local therapists are included in your network. If you don’t there are many therapists that offer sliding scale fees, where they adjust their price to be quite affordable for you. The following website can help you find a therapist: http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/TreatmentLocator/faces/quickSearch.jspx.

      Cho, you will find a proper job and you will succeed. Reread the list of your strengths. You should be proud of yourself. Forget about the past—look towards your future, and never give up. All heals with time.

      Keep us updated. 🙂

      Wellington Retreat

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We are the only facility in Florida owned and operated by an addiction psychiatrist involved in all treatment decisions. Learn more
Hello. Add your message here.