Children's Reasons for Living, Self-Esteem, and Violence

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Attitudes toward violence and reasons for living in young adolescents with high, moderate, and low self-esteem were examined. The authors devised an Attitudes Toward Violence questionnaire; the Rosenberg's Self-esteem Scale (RSE) and the Brief Reasons for Living in Adolescents (BRFL-A) was used to assess adaptive characteristics. The independent variables were gender and self-esteem. The dependent variables were total Reasons for Living score and Attitudes Toward Violence score. Participants included 138 boys and 95 girls, ages 11 to 15 years (M = 13.3) from a city middle school. The results showed that for the dependent variable attitudes toward violence, main effects were found for both gender and self-esteem. For the dependent variable reasons for living, a main effect was found for self-esteem but not for gender. An inverse relationship was found between violence and reasons for living. Being male and low self-esteem emerged as predictors of more accepting attitudes toward violence. Low self-esteem was significantly related to fewer reasons for living.