Can high self-esteem protect children from drug abuse?

Joseph Wu*, Raymond M C Chan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


There has been a belief that high self-esteem is highly desirable. Based on this premise, a number of programs has been designed and launched in schools and educational settings to boost children's self-esteem. However, a recent review by Baumeister and colleagues (Baumeister, Campbell, Krueger, & Vohs, 2003) reported that there was only weak evidence to support this premise. They further pinpointed possible drawbacks of having high self-esteem in certain circumstances. In a sample of 593 school children in the sixth grade in Hong Kong primary schools, the association of self-esteem to attitudes towards drugs and drug abuse was examined. There was weak evidence to support a claim that children with high self-esteem could refrain themselves better from drug abuse. In short, findings from our study echoed Baumeister's view that boosting children's self-esteem might not be a worthwhile practice in all circumstances. It calls for a second thought about the implementation of self-esteem enhancement programs in school and educational settings.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook on The Psychology of Self-Esteem
PublisherNova Science Publishers
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781631172267
ISBN (Print)9781631172250
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Publication series

NamePsychology of Emotions, Motivations and Actions
PublisherNova Science Publishers

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Attitudes towards drug use/abuse
  • Hong Kong
  • Primary school children
  • Self-esteem


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