Helping strangers can improve self-esteem, boost confidence in teenagers: study

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Helping strangers
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A new research has found out that helping strangers can help teenagers improve their self-esteem and confidence.

Adolescents who revealed pro-social behaviour such as helping, sharing, caring and comforting the strangers later experienced an immense self-esteem. However, the same was not true for those who had revealed pro-social behaviour merely to their friends and family, says the study which was published in the Journal of Adolescence.

"This study helps us to understand those young people who help those with whom they do not have a relationship report feeling better about themselves over time," said lead author Laura Padilla-Walker, Professor at Brigham Young University in the US.

"Given the importance of self-esteem during the teen's years, this is an important finding. It suggests there might be something about helping strangers that impacts one's moral identity or perceptions of self in a more significant way than helping friends or family members, although these are beneficial behaviour as well," said Padilla.

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The researchers enrolled 681 adolescents, aged range from 11 to 14 years, in two of the US cities.

The subjects in the study replied to ten statements- such as, "I feel useless at times' or I am satisfied with myself" to improve self-esteem and boost confidence.

"Not all helping is created equal, and we're findings that pro-social behaviour towards strangers is protective in a variety of ways that are unique from other types of helping," said Padilla-Walker.

Another important finding of the study is that the connection between pro-social behaviour and self-esteem has been observed over a one-year period across all lags.