Gender Effects on Self-Esteem, Family Functioning and Resilience Among Juvenile Delinquents in Malaysia

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Pertanika J. Soc. Sci. & Hum. 19 (S): 1 - 8 (2011)

ISSN: 0128-7702 © Universiti Putra Malaysia Press

Gender Effects on Self-Esteem, Family Functioning and Resilience among Juvenile Delinquents in Malaysia A. S. Arokiaraj*, R. Nasir and W. S. Wan Shahrazad School of Psychology and Human Development, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 43600 UKM, Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia * E-mail: sham_86@yahoo.com ABSTRACT Resilience is a very important aspect of each individual’s life. Individual characteristics such as self-esteem and family characteristics such as family adaptability and family cohesion pose both risk and protective factors in an individual’s environment. The objective of this research is to determine the relationships that exist between resilience, self-esteem, family adaptability and family cohesion of juvenile delinquents while considering the effect of gender. Respondents were 134 juvenile delinquents (44 males and 90 females) from two juvenile delinquent schools in Malaysia who took part in this exploratory cross-sectional survey research design by responding to The Resilience Scale, The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale and The Family Adaptability and Cohesion Scales II. Results showed that self–esteem, family cohesion and family adaptability together with gender did not produce a significant interaction effect with resilience. Keywords: Self–esteem, family functioning, resilience, juvenile delinquents

INTRODUCTION Living in a continuously evolving and advancing world improves persons’ quality of life. However, they also become more prone to negative forces, resulting in their participation in a vast range of social problems, which arise due to the challenging environments they face every day (Laird, 2004; Laursen, 2005). In Malaysia, the rates of juvenile crime had increased steadily from 2002 to 2009 where the number of violent crimes by juvenile offenders such as rape, molest, and armed robbery had almost doubled from 1105 cases to 2394 cases. Based on police records, the number of violent crimes committed by juvenile offenders up to August 2010 was 860 (Hariati, 2010). Out of 2899 drug addicts identified in the year 2009, 43.29% were relapse cases. On an average, five new addicts and four relapse addicts were discovered everyday Received: 3 May 2011 Accepted: 28 July 2011 * Corresponding Author

throughout the period of January to November 2009 (National Anti Drug Agency, Ministry of Home Affairs, 2009). Generally, an environment consists of the individual, his/her family, school and community. All these environments are connected and hence, the presence of possible risk and protective factors influence each other by the social relationships formed and its qualities. Adolescents faced with more risk factors are vulnerable to participate in risky behaviors (Ahern et al., 2008). As an example, Mayzer (2004) stated that participants with lower self-esteem were associated with an escalating pattern of aggressive behavior. Adolescent’s aggression were associated with more social problems, family expressiveness, physical discipline, and negative control but less family cohesion. Some predictors of delinquent

A. S. Arokiaraj, R. Nasir and W. S. Wan Shahrazad

behaviors and aggression involved more maternal psychopathology, social problems, and family conflict with an addition of having lower global self-esteem in predicting aggression but not delinquent behavior. The presence of protective factors within an individual’s environment help them achieve equilibrium to get back on the right track and protect them from succumbing to their vulnerability in making decisions and in their actions (Brooks, 2006; Knight, 2007; Anthony et al., 2009; Ungar et al., 2007; Kumpfer, 1999). Resilience is a personal resource and is defined as the ability to positively adapt and cope successfully, during or after experiencing stressful or risky situations, and in the face of adversity,...
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