Relationships among Self-Esteem, Self-Efficacy, and Faith in People in Chinese Heroin Abusers
Geng, Liuna, Jiang, Tao, Han, Dan, Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal
Drug use and abuse is a major social problem all over the world, and has drawn a great deal of attention from all sectors of society. China has one of the highest levels of opiate use, with a reported 2,348,800 users in 2005 (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2008). In a survey conducted by Chinese researchers, nearly 87.5% of opiate addicts in China were found to be heroin addicts (Liu et al., 2002). Thus, heroin dependence can be seen as a major threat to the public health and social security of China, owing to its devastating medical effects, the associated risk of HIV/AIDS and link with criminal behaviors, the low rate of users achieving abstinence, and high rate of relapse. In addition, China's drug abuse problems appear to be worsening (Tang, Zhao, Zhao, & Cubells, 2006).
The cessation of drug use is the optimal goal in rehabilitation of individuals, however, this is rarely accomplished by those who have been addicted. The relapse rate for drug abusers in China is currently about 90%, and even this figure may be an underestimate (He, 2004). There are some interventions that deal with physical factors, such as Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT), which effectively reduces many of the physical symptoms of withdrawal. However, because of the psychological dependency issues related to drug use, it is difficult for drug abusers to remain drug free. In this study we investigated three of these important psychological factors: self-esteem, self-efficacy, and faith in people and the relationships among these three factors.
Self-esteem has long been regarded as one of the major psychological constructs, and is defined as the individual's positive and/or negative attitudes toward the self (Rosenberg, 1965). Proponents of self-enhancement theory (Swann, 1987) describe self-esteem as a fundamental human motive, in that human beings universally have a desire to protect and enhance their self-esteem. The maintenance of self-esteem leads to self-protective motives, self-enhancement processes, a variety of coping processes, and the frustration of self-esteem enhancement generates some measure of psychological distress. The findings in a considerable number of studies are consistent with this theory, and some of these, specific to heroin addiction, demonstrate that self-esteem plays an important role in the addiction of heroin abusers. For example, in some studies it has been shown that low self-esteem is one of the characteristics of drug abusers (Kaplan & Meyerowitz, 1970), and that people with low self-esteem are more likely to use drugs for the purpose of momentary self-enhancement. Some researchers have found that low self-esteem predisposes individuals toward depression (Robinson, Garber, & Hilsman, 1995), demonstrating that the failure to maintain self-esteem leads to psychological problems. The problem of depression is an important factor that might lead to relapse (Brewer, Catalano, Haggerty, Gainey, & Fleming, 1998). Thus, increasing knowledge of the factors that influence self-esteem and discovering ways to improve the self-esteem of drug abusers is of great importance, and may provide us a deeper understanding of addiction and relapse.
In the field of drug addiction, self-efficacy is another crucial concept. In social cognitive theory, Bandura (1986) defined self-efficacy as "people's judgments of their capabilities to organize and execute courses of action required to attain designated types of performances" (p. 391). The self-efficacy of a heroin abuser indicates the level of confidence in his or her ability to refuse to use this drug. Some researchers have demonstrated that heroin abusers with higher levels of self-efficacy report lower levels of craving for the substance, and, thus, are less likely to experience a relapse (Gossop, Green, Phillips, & Bradley, 1990). In terms of the relationship between self-esteem and self-efficacy, researchers have reported …
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Publication information: Article title: Relationships among Self-Esteem, Self-Efficacy, and Faith in People in Chinese Heroin Abusers. Contributors: Geng, Liuna - Author, Jiang, Tao - Author, Han, Dan - Author. Journal title: Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal. Volume: 39. Issue: 6 Publication date: July 2011. Page number: 797+. © 2009 Scientific Journal Publishers, Ltd. COPYRIGHT 2011 Gale Group.