Area Specific Self-Esteem and Adolescent Substance Use

By Young, Michael E.; Penhollow, Tina M. et al. | Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, February 2007 | Go to article overview
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Area Specific Self-Esteem and Adolescent Substance Use


Young, Michael E., Penhollow, Tina M., Chambers, Rebecca L., Donnelly, Joseph, Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport


The use of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs continues to be a major public health problem in this country. Substance use/ abuse prevention programs often attempt to enhance self-esteem in the hopes that improved self-esteem will give young people less motivation to use drugs and greater ability to resist pressure to use drugs. The purpose of this study was to examine the role of self-esteem in substance use; specifically to determine whether self-esteem scores differ by level of substance use, and whether scores of various aspects of self-esteem can, as a set, distinguish between users and nonusers of selected substances. Participants in the study were 700 students in grades 6-12 from a single southern school district. The testing instrument was a questionnaire that included items designed to elicit demographic information, measures of self-esteem and measures of substance use. Self-esteem was measured using the Kelley Short-Form of the Hare Self-Esteem Scale. Questions dealing with substance use substance 14 different measures of substance use addressing the use of tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and other illegal drugs. Self-esteem was measured in three areas, peer, home, and school. Data were analyzed using two-way (Gender x Behavior) analysis of variance for each of the 14 behaviors. For each behavior a logistic regression was conducted using the three self-esteem measures as predictor variables. Results showed significant differences between users and nonusers regarding home and school self-esteem for all 14 behaviors.

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