Self-Esteem, Self-Efficacy and Deviant Behaviour of Young People in Hong Kong


This study was designed to explore the psychological and social correlates of deviant behaviour in a sample of Hong Kong school students. Findings revealed that their deviant behaviour was significantly and positively correlated with rebelliousness and susceptibility to negative peer influence. While weak direct relationships were found between self-efficacy, self-esteem and deviant behaviour in general, we found “bullying/vandalism”, “verbally/physically attacking parents”, “lack of motivation to study”, and “verbally/physically attacking teachers” had significant effects with “self-esteem and/or self-efficacy”. The present study concludes that changing the delinquents’ deviant identity is essential; the identity-rebuilding process would strengthen their self-image and prevent them from going astray.

Share and Cite:

Wing Lo, T. , Cheng, C. , Wong, D. , Rochelle, T. and Kwok, S. (2011) Self-Esteem, Self-Efficacy and Deviant Behaviour of Young People in Hong Kong. Advances in Applied Sociology, 1, 48-55. doi: 10.4236/aasoci.2011.11004.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Allen, J. P., Porter, M. R., McFarland, F. C., Marsh, P., & McElhaney, K. B. (2005). The two faces of adolescents’ success with peers: Adolescent popularity, social adaptation and deviant behaviour. Child Development, 76, 747-760. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2005.00875.x
[2] Baldry, A. C., & Farrington, D. P. (2000). Bullies and delinquents: Personal characteristics and parental styles. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 10, 17-31. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099-1298(200001/02)10:1<17::AID-CASP526>3.0.CO;2-M
[3] Bartlett, R., Holditch-Davis, D., Belyea, M., Halpern, C. T., & Beeber, L. (2006). Risk and protection in the development of problem behaviors in adolescents. Research in Nursing & Health, 29, 607-621. doi:10.1002/nur.20163
[4] Becker, B. E., & Luthar, S. S. (2007). Peer-perceived admiration and social preference: Contextual correlates of positive peer regard among suburban and urban adolescents. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 17, 117-144. doi:10.1111/j.1532-7795.2007.00514.x
[5] Carroll, A., Houghton, S., Hattie, J., & Durkin, K. (1999). Adolescent reputation enhancement: Differentiating delinquent and non-delinquent youths. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry & Allied Disciplines, 40, 593-606. doi:10.1111/1469-7610.00476
[6] Chen X., Chang, L., He, Y., & Liu, H. (2005). The peer group as a context: Moderating effects on relations between maternal parenting and social and school adjustment in Chinese children. Child Development, 76, 417-434. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2005.00854.x
[7] Cheng, C. H. K. (1998). An indigenous instrument for measuring the self-esteem of Hong Kong Chinese adolescents. Paper Presented in the International Conference on the Application of Psychology to the Quality of Learning and Teaching, Hong Kong: University of Hong Kong.
[8] Cheng, C. H. K., & Watkins, D. (2000). Age and gender invariance of self-concept factor structure: An investigation of a newly developed Chinese self-concept instrument. International Journal of Psychology, 35, 186-193. doi:10.1080/00207590050171120
[9] Cheung, Y. W. (1993). Predicting adolescent behaviour in Hong Kong: A comparison of media, family, school and peer variables. Hong Kong: Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, Chinese University of Hong Kong.
[10] Cheung, Y. W., & Ng, A. (1988). Social factors in adolescent deviant behaviour in Hong Kong: An integrated theory approach. International Journal of Comparative & Applied Criminal Justice, 12, 27-45.
[11] Claes, M., Lacourse, E., Ercolani, A. P., Pierro, A., Leone, L., & Presaghi, F. (2005). Parenting, peer orientation, drug use, and antisocial behaviour in late adolescence: A cross-national study. Journal of Youth & Adolescence, 34, 401-411. doi:10.1007/s10964-005-7258-8
[12] Dalton, M., Sargent, J., Beach, M., Bernhardt, A., & Stevens, M. (1999). Positive and negative outcome expectations of smoking: Implications for prevention. Preventive Medicine, 29, 460-465. doi:10.1006/pmed.1999.0582
[13] Dielman, T., Campanelli, P., Shope, J., & Butchart, A. (1987). Susceptibility to peer pressure, self-esteem, and health locus of control as correlates of adolescent substance abuse. Health Education Quarterly, 14, 207-221. doi:10.1177/109019818701400207
[14] Donnellan, M. B., Trzesniewski, K. H., Robins, R. W., Moffitt, T. E., & Caspi, A. (2005). Low self-esteem is related to aggression, anti-social behavior, and delinquency. Psychological Science, 16, 328-335. doi:10.1111/j.0956-7976.2005.01535.x
[15] DuBois, D. L., & Silverthorn, N. (2004). Do deviant peer associations mediate the contributions of self-esteem to problem behaviour during early adolescence? A 2-year longitudinal study. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 33, 382-388. doi:10.1207/s15374424jccp3302_20
[16] Duckworth, A. L., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2005). Self-discipline outdoes IQ in predicting academic performance of adolescents. Psychological Science, 16, 939-944. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2005.01641.x
[17] Education and Manpower Bureau (2003). Assessment program for affective and social outcomes (secondary schools). Hong Kong: The Education and Manpower Bureau, Hong Kong SAR Government.
[18] Fergusson, D. M., Vitaro, F., Wanner, B., & Brendgen, M. (2007). Protective and compensatory factors mitigating the influence of deviant friends on delinquent behaviors during early adolescence. Journal of Adolescence, 30, 33-50. doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2005.05.007
[19] Fergusson, D. M., Wanner, B., Vitaro, F., Horwood, L. J., & Swain- Campbell, N. R. (2003). Deviant peer affiliations and depression: Confounding or causation? Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 31, 605-618. doi:10.1023/A:1026258106540
[20] Forney, W. S., Forney, J. C., & Crutsinger, C. (2005). Gender, delinquent status and social acceptance as predictors of the global self-esteem of teens. Family & Consumer Sciences Research Journal, 33, 208-219. doi:10.1177/1077727X04272364
[21] Gifford-Smith, M., Dodge, K. A., Dishion, T. J., & McCord, J. (2005). Peer influence in children and adolescents: Crossing the bridge from developmental to intervention science. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 33, 255-265. doi:10.1007/s10802-005-3563-7
[22] Goodnight, J. A., Bates, J. E., Newman, J. P., Dodge, K. A., & Pettit, G. S. (2006). The interactive influence of friend deviance and reward dominance on the development of externalizing behaviour during middle adolescence. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 34, 573-583. doi:10.1007/s10802-006-9036-9
[23] Kaplan, H. B. (1975). Self-attitudes and deviant behavior. Pacific Palisades, CA: Goodyear.
[24] Kaplan, H. B., & Lin, C. H. (2000). Deviant identity as a moderator of the relation between negative self-feelings and deviant behaviour. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 20, 150-177. doi:10.1177/0272431600020002003
[25] Kaplan, H. B., & Lin, C. H. (2005). Deviant identity, negative self-feelings, and decreases in deviant behaviour: The moderating influence of conventional social bonding. Psychology, Crime & Law, 11, 289-303. doi:10.1080/10683160412331294817
[26] Kaplan, C., Napoles-Springer, A., Stewart, S., & Perez-Stable, E. (2001). Smoking acquisition among adolescents and young Latinas: The role of socio environmental and personal factors. Addictive Behaviors, 26, 531-550. doi:10.1016/S0306-4603(00)00143-X
[27] Karatzias, A., Chouliara, Z., Power, K., & Swanson, V. (2006). Predicting general well-being from self-esteem and affectivity: An exploratory study with Scottish adolescents. Quality of Life Research, 15, 1143-1151. doi:10.1007/s11136-006-0064-2
[28] Katja, R., Paivi, A. K., Marja-Terttu, T., & Pekka, L. (2002). Relationships among adolescents’ subjective well-being, health behaviour, and school satisfaction. The Journal of School Health, 72, 243-249. doi:10.1111/j.1746-1561.2002.tb07337.x
[29] Kim, H-S., & Kim, H-S. (2005). Gender differences in delinquent behavior among Korean adolescents. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 35, 325-345. doi:10.1007/s10578-005-2691-1
[30] Lacourse, E., Nagin, D., Tremblay, R. E., Vitaro, F., & Claes, M. (2003). Developmental trajectories of boys’ delinquent group membership and facilitation of violent behaviours during adolescence. Development & Psychopathology, 15, 183-197. doi:10.1017/S0954579403000105
[31] Lau, S., & Leung, K. (1992). Relations with parents and school and Chinese adolescents’ self-concept, delinquency and academic performance. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 62, 193-202. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8279.1992.tb01013.x
[32] Level, L. D., & Chamberlain, P. (2005). Association with delinquent peers: Intervention effects for youth in the juvenile justice system. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 33, 339-347. doi:10.1007/s10802-005-3571-7
[33] Levy, K. S. C. (1997). Multifactorial self-concept and delinquency in Australian adolescents. Journal of Social Psychology, 137, 277-283. doi:10.1080/00224549709595439
[34] Levy, K. S. C. (1997). The contribution of self-concept in the etiology of adolescent delinquency. Adolescence, 32, 671-686.
[35] Li, J. C. M., & Lo, T. W. (2006). Youth gang violence and neutralization technique. Journal of Youth Studies, 9, 142-150.
[36] Lo, T. W. (1984). Gang Dynamics. Hong Kong: Caritas.
[37] Mason, A. (2001). Self-esteem and delinquency revisited (again): A test of Kaplan’s self-derogation theory of delinquency using latent growth curve modelling. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 30, 83-102. doi:10.1023/A:1005276905961
[38] Rigby, K., & Cox, I. (1996). The contribution of bullying at school and low self-esteem to acts of delinquency among Australian teenagers. Personality & Individual Differences, 21, 609-612. doi:10.1016/0191-8869(96)00105-5
[39] Schwartz, D, Gorman, A. H., Nakamoto, J., & McKay, T. (2006). Popularity, social acceptance and aggression in adolescent peer groups: Links with academic performance and school attendance. Developmental Psychology, 42, 1116-1127. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.42.6.1116
[40] Schwarzer, R., B?βler, J., Kwiatek, P., Schr?der, K., & Zhang, J. (1997). The assessment of optimistic self-beliefs: Comparison of the German, Spanish, and Chinese versions of the general self-efficacy scale. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 46, 68-88.
[41] Shek, D. T. L. (2005). Paternal and maternal influences on the psychological well-being, substance abuse, and delinquency of Chinese adolescents experiencing economic disadvantage. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 61, 219-234. doi:10.1002/jclp.20057
[42] Soldz, S., & Cui, X. (2001). A risk factor index predicting adolescent cigarette smoking: A 7-year longitudinal study. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 15, 33-41. doi:10.1037/0893-164X.15.1.33
[43] Sung, J. J., & Thornberry, T. P. (1998). Self-esteem, delinquent peers, and delinquency: A test of the self-enhancement thesis. American Sociological Review, 63, 586-598.
[44] Tabassam, W., & Grainger, J. (2002). Self-concept, attributional style and self-efficacy beliefs of students with learning disabilities. Learning Disability Quarterly, 25, 141-151. doi:10.2307/1511280
[45] van Lier, P. A. C., Vitaro, F., Wanner, B., Vuijk, P., & Crijnen, A. A. M. (2005). Gender differences in developmental links among antisocial behaviour, friends’ antisocial behaviour, and peer rejection in childhood: Results from two cultures. Child Development, 76, 841-855. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2005.00881.x
[46] Vitaro, F., Brendgen, M., & Wanner, B. (2005). Patterns of affiliation with delinquent friends during late childhood and early adolescence: Correlates and consequences. Social Psychiatry, 14, 82-108.
[47] Wentzel, K. R. (1994). Relations of social goal pursuit to social acceptance, classroom behaviour, and perceived social support. Journal of Educational Psychology, 86, 173-182. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.86.2.173
[48] Wentzel, K. R. (2004). Understanding classroom competence: The role of social-motivational and self-processes. Advances in Child Development & Behavior, 32, 213-241. doi:10.1016/S0065-2407(04)80008-9
[49] Wong, D. S. W., & Cheng, C. (2000). Religious bonds, values and minor delinquency among young people in Hong Kong. Journal of Youth Studies, 3, 142-151.
[50] Wong, J. P. S., & Leung, A. Y. M. (2002). Health education and lifestyle in Hong Kong youth people. Journal of Youth Studies, 5, 186-202.
[51] Wong, S. W., & Watkins, D. (2001). Self-esteem and ability grouping: A Hong Kong investigation of the Big Fish Little Pond Effect. Educational Psychology, 21, 79-87. doi:10.1080/01443410123082

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.