The Effects of Self-Esteem on Adolescent Delinquency over Time: Is the Relationship Linear?

  • Shu-Ping TzengEmail author
  • Chin-Chun Yi
Part of the Quality of Life in Asia book series (QLAS, volume 2)


Previous studies and programs are mainly based on a premise that low self-esteem is a risk factor of delinquency, and a linear relationship between self-esteem and delinquency is suggested. When adolescents’ self-esteem is enhanced, their engagement in delinquency would be lowered. This study attempts to determine whether the relationship between self-esteem and delinquency is linear or not when taking both low and high self-esteem into consideration. The study analyzes the 1st, 4th, and 7th waves of survey data of the J3 cohort of the Taiwan Youth Project (TYP) with a random-effects Poisson model. Results show that the relationship between self-esteem and delinquency is nonlinear. Although this study does not find significant differences in types of delinquent behaviors and academic performance for adolescents with high self-esteem and those with low self-esteem, the results clearly show that high self-esteem is not a protective factor of delinquency as research usually assumes. The mechanisms leading to delinquency for adolescents with high self-esteem and low self-esteem need further investigation.


Item Response Theory Violent Behavior Delinquent Behavior Deviant Behavior Taipei County 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of CriminologyNational Chung Cheng UniversityChia-YiTaiwan
  2. 2.Institute of SociologyAcademia SinicaTaipeiTaiwan

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