Your self-esteem officially peaks in your 60s, says science

If you’ve ever lamented the passing of your twenties or looked back wistfully on your thirties, we’ve got some good news for you. Although every decade can be packed with precious memories and joyous moments, the age when you finally feel truly comfortable in your own skin has been revealed – and it’s when you are 60.

According to recent research published in the Psychological Bulletin, 60 is the age when your self-esteem officially reaches its peak, and this remains a constant until you turn 70, when there’s a slight decline until the age of 90 (and a stronger decline between 90 and 94).

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To make their assessment, the authors of the paper drew on more than 300 previously published studies on self-esteem, which they defined as ‘a person’s subjective evaluation of his or her worth as a person.’

They found that the pattern they discovered – with 60 at the high point – applied to participants across gender, country, ethnicity, and birth cohort, with data from over 160,000 individuals taken into account. 

MORE: Kathy Lette: ’60? Try sexty!’ 

‘Although there is a normative decline in self-esteem after age 70, the meta-analysis indicates that the magnitude of decline is relatively benign until age 90, suggesting that many older adults are able to maintain a relatively high level of self-esteem,’ they concluded.

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What the study didn’t address, however, is the biggest question, of why our self-esteem soars so high in our sixties – although reporters at The Cut suggest: ‘Reaching peak self-esteem also means peak who cares? You’re confident not only in who you are, but in what you like’ – and that sounds pretty spot on to us.

So, while it might take a while to get there, it seems the self-esteem you experience in your sixth decade is well worth the wait. Already there? You’re in good company – Madonna, Sharon Stone, Michelle Pfeiffer, Andie McDowell, and Jennifer Saunders all celebrated their 60th birthdays this year.