Role Models: Boosting Self-Esteem to Eliminate Negative Behaviors

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Self-esteem plays a crucial role in many different aspects of an adolescent’s life. Having a low self-esteem has been found to be in direct relationship with negative outcomes and behaviors (Harter, 1999). A key factor that can positively affect the self-esteem of adolescents is the presence of a role model. With prosocial behaviors and social support, role models can help amplify the self-esteem of an adolescent, decreasing the likelihood that the adolescent will engage in negative behaviors such as: violence, bullying, substance use, and eating behaviors. There is a direct link between low-self esteem and antisocial behavior (Donnellan, 2004). Role models can alter an adolescent’s antisocial behavior and their attitudes toward violent behaviors by simply changing their behavior. Role models that participate in prosocial behaviors raise the self-esteem of teens so the they do not experience shame for being less supportive of violent behaviors (Hurd, 2011). By modeling prosocial behaviors, role models teach adolescents how to interact with individuals nonviolently. As a result, adolescents are inclined to perform in the same manner (Hurd, 2011).Also, when adolescents witness their role models get awarded for their prosocial behavior, they vicariously learn about the benefits associated with positive behaviors (Hurd, 2011). Adolescents often imitate the behavior of their role models (Hurd, 2011). So, being exposed to prosocial behaviors displayed by role models can lead to the development of attitudes for peaceful conflict resolutions that are nonaggressive. One major act of aggression among adolescents is bullying. Bullying can occur for several reasons. Studies have shown that a decrease is in an adolescent’s self-esteem can serve as a powerful predictor of an increase in bullying behavior (Guerra, 2011). Teens often report that they engage in bullying
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