Relating optimism, hope, and self-esteem to social influences in deterring substance use in adolescents

Scott C. Carvajal, Scott D. Clair, Susan G. Nash, Richard I. Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Although there is a long history of research examining relationships between intrapersonal factors and adolescent substance use, such relationships have not always been clearly delineated. The present study focused on three factors generally associated with physical and mental well being: dispositional optimism, hope, and self-esteem. These constructs were examined in relation to a social influence model as applied to the deterrence of substance use. A cross-sectional study was undertaken employing adolescents (n = 1,985) representative of a multi-racial/ethnic population. The results suggest that optimism, hope, and self-esteem are determinants of avoiding substance use, with the effects of these variables being mediated by attitudes, perceived norms, and perceived behavioral control. Additionally, the structural equation modeling analysis suggests a more general protective dimension predominantly accounts for the relationships between the personality factors and the mediators of avoiding substance use. These findings suggest efforts to prevent substance use may be more effective if they address more global intrapersonal factors in conjunction with the more immediate determinants of substance use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-465
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Social and Clinical Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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