The Relationship between Self-Esteem, Depression and Anxiety: Comparing Vulnerability and Scar Model in the Italian Context

Giovanna Manna, Giorgio Falgares, Sonia Ingoglia, Maria Rosaria Como, Sandro De Santis



Background: The relationship between low self-esteem and depression and anxiety disorders has solicited a growing body of empirical research. The most important explanation models are two: the vulnerability model states that low self-esteem is a risk factor for depression and anxiety, and the scar model states that low self-esteem is an outcome, not a cause, of depression and anxiety.   Method: In the present research we tested the two different models using a sample of Italian preadolescent, aged 11 to 14 years, recruited from an Italian secondary school. To test the models, the path analysis technique was used: one in which self-esteem predicted anxiety and depression (Model 1), and one in which anxiety and depression predicted self-esteem (Model 2). Gender and age were included in the models as covariate. Conclusions: our findings suggest that the both models had the same good fit, although the effects of self-esteem on depressive and anxiety symptoms were significantly higher than the effects of anxiety and depression on self-esteem. In both models gender was positively associated with anxiety and self-esteem: girls tend to report higher levels of anxiety than boys. In the scar model age was positively related with depression; older preadolescents tend to report higher levels of depression than younger preadolescents.




Keywords: self-esteem, anxiety, depression, early adolescence


Self-esteem; Anxiety; Depression; Early adolescence

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