The construct of self-esteem in alcohol and drug education.

Author:Sharma, Manoj
Position::EDITORIAL - Editorial

In psychology, self-esteem generally refers to a personal assessment by a person of his or her own worth (Hewitt, 2009). Since the 1950's, this construct has received attention when Allport (1955) suggested that it was necessary for emotional wellbeing. Since the 1980s there have been several programs that have been introduced that build self-esteem for health and well-being.

Self-esteem has been linked to alcohol and drug use behaviors. A cross sectional study in Korea found that low self-esteem was significantly correlated with health risk behaviors (Kim, 2011). In a study with college students it was found that high self-esteem was indirectly linked to fewer alcohol-related problems (Backer-Fulghum, Patock-Peckham, King, Roufa, & Hagen, 2012). Another study in South African adolescents found that low self-esteem was linked to both adolescent smoking and alcohol use (Brook, Rubenstone, Zhang, Morojele, & Brook, 2011). Another study with adolescents from Turkey showed that self-esteem was negatively associated with alcohol and illicit drug use (Kavas, 2009). A study with Hispanic adolescents in the US found that self-esteem was the most important protective factor against substance use (Zamboanga, Schwartz, Jarvis, & Van Tyne, 2009).

In recent years, a new self-esteem enhancement theory (SET), has been proposed (Dubois, Flay, & Fagen, 2009). SET consists of five sets of constructs: (1) contextual opportunities that include an individual's surrounding environment that supports development and sustenance of feelings of self-worth; (2) esteem formation and maintenance processes that include cognitive, affective, and behavioral attributes that enhance self-worth; (3) self-esteem which is global as well as domain specific; (4) health and well-being which include influences in cognitive, emotional, behavioral, physical and social spheres; and (5) modifying influences from developmental, individual, and sociocultural differences.

Several interventions have been designed on the concept of self-esteem enhancement. One such intervention is by Dalgas-Pelish (2006) who designed a self-esteem enhancement intervention in school children in fifth and sixth grades. The intervention consisted of four lessons around the topics of an overview of self-esteem, media influences, hiding emotions, and changes in self-esteem. It utilized a pre-test post-test design and used Coopersmith's Self-Esteem Inventory (SEI) to measure self-esteem. The results indicated...

To continue reading