Self-esteem is different culturally.[i] For example, in some studies North American young people had higher scores than Chinese and Japanese students, and students in the UK had higher scores than students in Nigeria. Another study found that self-esteem is more associated with life satisfaction and well-being in individualistic cultures like the US than in collectivist ones like China and Korea. Low self-esteem in adolescents is associated with external locus of control, higher depression rates, and lower academic achievement, High self-esteem is linked to parental warmth and acceptance both in some Western countries and China and Japan. A study of 11th graders in the US, Czech Republic, China and Korea found higher self-image in the US and China with less depression than in Czech Republic and Korea, indicating the degree of individualism wasn’t influential, while parental influence is important. Boys had slightly higher self-esteem scores, but not to the point of statistical significance. For all four countries, students with more educated parents had higher self-esteem.
[i] Susan Farruggia, et al., “Adolescent Self-Esteem in Cross-Cultural Perpective Testing Measurement equivalence and a Mediation Model,” Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, November 2004.