Background: Self-esteem, a key construct of personality, influences thoughts, actions, and feelings. Adolescence is a critical stage to the development of self-esteem. Taiwan currently offers no self-esteem building curriculum in the public education system. Therefore, incorporating self-esteem-related teaching activities into the existing curriculum represents a feasible approach to enhance self-esteem in middle school students.
Purpose: This study aimed to explore the effects on junior high school students' self-esteem of a self-esteem program incorporated into the general health and physical education curriculum.
Methods: A quasi-experimental research design was used, and 184 seventh-grade students at two junior high schools in Taipei City were randomly selected and separated into two groups. The experimental group received one 32-week self-esteem program incorporated into their regular health and physical education curriculum, which was administered in three 45-minute-session classes each week. The control group received the regular health and physical education with no specially designed elements. During the week before the intervention began and the week after its conclusion, each participant's global and academic, physical, social, and family self-esteem was assessed. Data were analyzed using analysis of covariance.
Results: For all participants, the experimental group was significantly superior to the control group in respect to physical self-esteem (p = .02). For girls, the experimental group was significantly superior to the control group in family self-esteem (p = .02). However, there was no significant difference between the two groups in terms of global self-esteem.
Conclusions and Implications for Practice: This study provides preliminary evidence that incorporating self-esteem activities into the regular school health and physical education curriculum can result in minor effects in students' physical self-esteem and family self-esteem. Findings may provide teachers and school administrators with information to help them design programs to improve students' self-esteem. This study also reminds health professionals to focus on providing self-esteem-building programs when working with adolescent clients.