Perceptions of self, self-esteem, and the adolescent smoker

May, Carl (1999) Perceptions of self, self-esteem, and the adolescent smoker. Health Education Journal, 58, (3), 211-217. (doi:10.1177/001789699905800302).


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Adolescent tobacco use remains a key problem in health education and health promotion. The continuing growth of youthful smoking and other substance use is often explained by appeal to global psychological variables such as self- esteem, where the young smoker is assumed to smoke, drink, or take drugs to compensate for low levels of self-esteem. This paper sets out a brief critique of the deployment of 'self-esteem' as a global variable in understanding adolescent smoking, and argues for a more complex vision of self-identity as a means of connecting young people's ideas about themselves with their concrete health behaviours.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1177/001789699905800302
ISSNs: 0017-8969 (print)
1748-8176 (electronic)
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Health Sciences
ePrint ID: 163409
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
September 1999Published
Date Deposited: 15 Sep 2010 13:16
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:29

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