Self-Esteem and Alcohol Use: Implications for Aggressive Behavior

  • Virgil Zeigler-HillEmail author
  • Eric R. Dahlen
  • Michael B. Madson
Original Article


Previous research has revealed an intimate connection between alcohol use and aggression. However, it is also clear that alcohol use has a stronger association with aggression for some individuals than it does for others. As a result, researchers have become interested in examining how individual differences may influence the association between alcohol use and aggression. The purpose of the present work is to provide a review of the literature that focuses on the separate connections that self-esteem has with alcohol use and aggression as well as provide some ideas about the role that self-esteem may play in the link between alcohol use and aggression. We review the most prominent explanations for the links that self-esteem has been found to have with alcohol use and aggression (e.g., the vulnerability model which argues that alcohol use is a consequence of low self-esteem). Recent advancements in the self-esteem literature concerning distinctions between secure and fragile forms of self-esteem are discussed in terms of their potential implications for understanding the links that self-esteem has with alcohol use and aggression. Finally, we speculate about the possible role that fragile high self-esteem may play in the connection between alcohol use and aggression.


Alcohol Aggression Self-esteem 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Virgil Zeigler-Hill
    • 1
    Email author
  • Eric R. Dahlen
    • 2
  • Michael B. Madson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyOakland UniversityRochesterUSA
  2. 2.University of Southern MississippiHattiesburgUSA

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