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Iraqi teens have relatively high levels of self esteem, according to a University of Cincinnati study. Not only that, but "the higher the perceived threat of the war, the higher the teens reported their self-esteem."
The researchers say that though this finding may seem counterintuitive, it supports their theory that during a war, individuals' sense of self is tied to their sense of national identity:
"In the presence of conflict-related trauma one generally observes lower levels of psychological well-being (e.g., PTSD, grief reactions), and sometimes lower self-esteem," write the authors. "Our results, however, are consistent with a body of theory and research that predicts self-esteem striving and higher self-esteem among the individuals who face indirect threats to central components of their social identities (rather than directly facing traumatic war-related events). In other words, in a situation where we observe a broad social context involving the presence of foreign forces ( a clear violation of Muslim principles) combined with general violence throughout Baghdad and Iraq, we also observe a heightened sense of self, at least to the extent that one's self is tied to one's nation."