THE self-esteem of teenage boys is boosted by puberty but that of girls is lowered, according to University of Sydney researchers.
They found that post-puberty boys have the highest level of self-confidence while that of girls plummets.
They believe the self-esteem of girls is affected by the weight and fat gain which usually accompanies their first period.
Dr Jennifer O'Dea, a senior lecturer in education, said: "The discrepancy in self-esteem suggested that females felt they had failed to meet their ideal self-concepts significantly more than males."
The researchers surveyed more than 450 girls and boys in their first two years at high school. The students filled out questionnaires rating their abilities and the importance they gave to each.
Girls and boys were similar in what they considered to be important. They regarded having close friendships, doing well at school and being attractive as contributing most to their self-esteem.