The Reflection of Self-Esteem on the Brain Structure: A Voxel Based Morphometry Study in Healthy Young Adults

Mehmet C. ERATA , Seda EROĞLU , Burcu ÖZKUL , Özgül USLU , Yiğit ERDOĞAN , Ömer KİTİŞ , Ali Saffet GÖNÜL
2023 September - 60 (3)


• Self-esteem levels and whole brain gray matter volumes
were evaluated with VBM.
• Self-esteem was correlated with TPJ/IPL, PCC/Pcu, rostral
and dorsal ACC.
• Our findings coincide with PCC/Pcu, ACC and rTPJ
regions of DMN.


Introduction: Low self-esteem is a known risk factor for mental
illnesses. Neuroimaging studies have identified evidence for a functional
association between default mode network (DMN) and self-esteem
levels. However, it is not clear whether there is a similar association
between trait self-esteem and the structures composing DMN. This
study aimed to investigate the relationship between the DMN associated
brain structures and trait self-esteem.
Methods: We obtained 3T structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
data of 75 healthy subjects and detected anatomical regions correlated
with their Rosenberg Self-Esteem scores via voxel-based morphometry
Results: We found positive associations between self-esteem and
regional grey matter volumes in the right temporoparietal junction/
inferior parietal lobule (BA 39), cortical midline regions at precuneus/
dorsal cingulate cortex (BA 31), rostral and dorsal anterior cingulate
cortices (BA 32).
Conclusion: The results of the current study support the fMRI
studies suggesting self-esteem levels associated with DMN. Further
neuroimaging studies should consider the functional and structural
coupling of the default mode network during the execution of the
functions related to self-esteem.
Keywords: Default mode network (DMN), DSM-5, structural MRI,
temporoparietal junction (TPJ), trait self-esteem, voxel-based
morphometry (VBM)