Self-esteem variability predicts arterial stiffness trajectories in healthy adolescent females

Kharah M. Ross, Sarah Liu, Lianne M. Tomfohr, Gregory E. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: There is mounting evidence that high levels of self-esteem are associated with better health outcomes, particularly in older adults dealing with serious medical illnesses. Much less is known about how this linkage unfolds developmentally, particularly during times like adolescence, when youngsters' self-views are typically in flux. Here we explore the self-esteem of adolescent females over a 2.5-year period, and how it covaries with trajectories of vascular function assessed over the same timeframe. Method: One-hundred and thirty adolescent females completed the Rosenberg Self-Esteem scale every 6 months for 2.5 years. Vascular function was measured three times over the same period, using peripheral artery tonometry. Indices of endothelial function and arterial stiffness were derived from these measurements. Results: Hierarchical Linear Modeling revealed an association between self-esteem variability and arterial stiffness trajectories, β 9.0 × 10-3, SE = 4.4 × 10-3, p = .04. To the extent that their self-esteem fluctuated over the 2.5-year study, participants showed increasing trajectories of arterial stiffness, independent of various demographic and biobehavioral confounders. This association was also independent of participants' trait-like self-esteem over the same period of time. Neither trait self-esteem nor self-esteem variability was related to endothelial function. Conclusion: These findings suggest that fluctuating self-esteem may accelerate the early stages of vascular stiffening in young women, regardless of whether self-views are generally positive or negative.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)869-876
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug. 2013


  • Adolescence
  • Arterial stiffness
  • Self-esteem
  • Self-esteem variability
  • Vascular function


Dive into the research topics of 'Self-esteem variability predicts arterial stiffness trajectories in healthy adolescent females'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this