College students for instance are inundated with

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their parents would be different. College students, for instance, are inundated with messages about alcohol and underage drinking; middle-age in- dividuals, however, are more cognizant of changes in body functioning and vulnerability to illness. The present exploratory study, therefore, investigated the pattern of correlations between level of self- esteem and health-related behavior in these two age groups. Method Participants Data were collected from students at a small, pri- vate, 4-year liberal arts college. All students were en- rolled in general psychology courses, and they com- pleted (a) a questionnaire surveying their health prac- tices and (b) the MSEI. They all received bonus cred- its toward their course grade for their participation. A total of 81 students (36 men and 45 women) be- tween the ages of 19 to 25 (mean age for men was 20.75, and for women, 21.17) agreed to participate. The sample was 95% Caucasian. Additionally, the stu- dents were asked to seek the cooperation of one of their parents and to give the materials to that parent to complete. A total of 31 parents (13 men and 18 women) between the ages of 42 to 57 (mean age for men was 51.75, and for women, 48.08) filled out the TABLE 1 Components of Self-Esteem as Measured by the MSEI, and Characteristics of a High Scorer Component Abbreviation Characteristics of a High Scorer Global Self-Esteem (GSE) Pleased with self, feels significant as a person Competence (CMP) Feels effective and capable of mastering new tasks Personal Power (PWR) Assertive, seeks positions of leadership Lovability (LVE) Worthy of love, able to express love Likability (LKE) Popular, gets along with others Self-Control (SFC) Self-disciplined, good at setting goals Body Appearance (BAP) Pleased with appearance, pays attention to appearance Moral Self-Approval (MOR) Has clearly defined moral standards Body Functioning (BFN) Agile, in good physical condition Identity Integration (IDN) Clear sense of identity, inner sense of cohesion Defensive Self-Enhancement (DEF) Defensive, claims unlikely positive qualities
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P SI C HI J OURNAL OF U NDERGRADUATE R ESEARCH ° Fall/Winter 1996 73 S ELF -E STEEM AND H EALTH -R ELATED B EHAVIORS ° Frantz, McKenna, Brooks, and O’Brien materials and returned them to the experimenters by mail. Materials The participants received a packet which con- tained (a) an informed consent form, (b) the MSEI, and (c) a 16-item survey which assessed the degree to which the respondent engaged in certain behav- iors. The MSEI is a 116-item self-report inventory measuring 11 components of self-esteem. Table 1 provides a brief description of each scale. There are 10 items for each component, except for defensive self-enhancement which has 16 items. Participants respond to each item on a 5-point Likert scale to in- dicate increasing frequency or degree to which an item applies to them. Internal consistency reliability has been examined for each of the subscales of the MSEI, with alpha coefficients ranging from .80 to .90.
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