Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 159–166 | Cite as

Efficacy, Self-Derogation, and Alcohol Use Among Inner-City Adolescents: Gender Matters

  • Jennifer A. Epstein
  • Kenneth W. Griffin
  • Gilbert J. Botvin


Prior studies have found inconsistent relationships between measures of self-concept and adolescent alcohol use. The current study explored whether the link between various measures of self-concept and alcohol use depends on gender. In addition, earlier work suggested a focus on negative self-esteem (i.e., self-derogation) might be more useful in predicting alcohol use. Students (N = 1459) attending 22 middle and junior high schools in New York City completed surveys that included measures of efficacy, self-derogation, and alcohol use. Participants completed surveys at baseline, 1-year follow-up, and 2-year follow-up. Data collectors administered the questionnaire following a standardized protocol during a regular 40-min-class period. On the basis of a longitudinal structural equation model, lower efficacy was related to greater self-derogation a year later across gender. Increased self-derogation predicted higher alcohol use for girls but not boys. These findings are congruent with a literature highlighting the importance of negative thoughts about the self in drinking behavior for women but not men. The results suggest that the alcohol prevention approaches should include material to enhance girls' self-esteem.

alcohol use efficacy self-derogation gender 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer A. Epstein
    • 1
  • Kenneth W. Griffin
    • 1
  • Gilbert J. Botvin
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Public Health, Institute for Prevention ResearchCornell University, Weill Medical CollegeUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Public Health and Psychiatry, Institute for Prevention ResearchCornell University, Weill Medical CollegeUSA

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