Adolescent Self-Esteem and Coping Strategies



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This chapter presents the background and the objective of the study, problem statement, research question as well as hypotheses. Other than that, significance of the study and definition of terms are also further discussed in this chapter.


Adolescents are a group of people between the age of 10 to 19 and they have contributed about 19.2% of Malaysian population (World Health Organization, [WHO] 2011). Adolescence is characterized by marked changes. It is a crucial time for development of lifelong perception, beliefs, values, and practices. Adolescence is also a key lifestage for the shaping of health in adulthood and later life. As adolescents endeavor to establish independence, they make decisions and develop patterns of behavior that affect their present and future health. At the same time, adolescence is in itself a stage of high risk for morbidity and mortality. (Hurrelman, Leppin & Nordlohne, 1995)

The adolescent years are a time when significant demands are being placed on young people. Demands can include academic, personal, and social dilemmas (Shulman, Carlton-Ford, Levian, & Hed, 1995). It is furthermore, a time of major physical changes which can also influence psychological variables such as self confidence, shyness and anxiety (Frydenberg & Lewis, 1991b). These demands can generate high levels of stress for some individuals. Related to this, human is not only concentrated only to intelligence but can grow either by the environment, education and experience. Every intelligence is separate and not interdependent, because an individual may excel in one area but weak in other areas of intelligence. Therefore, it is true that man is born with unique and special. (Siti Rahayah, 2011)

Lazarus (1980) and Lazarus and Launier (1978) point out, stress is a normal component of living and most adolescents are able to manage it effectively. There are times however, when adolescents need to use coping strategies to manage their stress. The ability to achieve this successfully will depend on the repertoire of coping strategies known to the adolescent (Frydenberg & Lewis, 1993).

In Malaysia unfortunately, there are cases involved adolescents as reported by Harian Metro in 12 April 2011 stated that adolescence is in the phases of receiving any outside influence that will be easily to lose direction, guidance and way of life. Cases of delinquency due to family problems seen as there is no way to solve it. Statistics from the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) that children out of wedlock are 81,000 registered so far. A group of researchers from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) was found 300 Malay youths aged 13 to 25 years engaged in sexual misconduct and sex and 85 percent of those who commit such acts do not regret, shame or fear even described the experience as enjoyable. In addition, Royal Malaysian Police statistics recorded cases of abandoned babies reported between 2000 to 2006 was 580 peoples, the majority of 92 percent is a new born baby, while 8 percent is the fetus. In the Klang Valley only, the report results of the 2007 National Population Conference revealed a baby thrown away every ten days.

With a shocking statistic and actually never thought would happen to the Malay-Muslim community which are taught and educated away from forbidden things, this scenario shows that teenagers are getting brave. In this case, the media and peer influence is often implicated as a major cause. Some also blame the imbalance of economic development and the lack of efforts to bring about change and a paradigm shift in terms of human development to determine the direction of youth life. There were also disputes the education system preferred academic achievement than the mere knowledge and appreciation of the need for personal development and spiritual. Notwithstanding the factors, the family identified as the major influence for the problems occur. In the starting position of the family institution brittle and no longer able to face the challenges and be a bulwark to preserve the purification process with the social system of cultural values, spiritual and religious in the process of emotional development, cognitive and social teenagers, families no longer considered as the best model to teenagers because the religious as a lamp and guide of life which is not implemented in full.


Era of globalization increasingly booming. Similarly, the growth rate of the development of students in Malaysia, where the students will present the pillar of the country in the future. In line with Vision 2020, the role of education to realize the changes and achievements of Malaysia into a fully developed an agenda that is so challenging and critical. Thus, to know the various intelligence possessed by each student is important for the main yardstick in determining the success of an educational system.

Today, people interpret achievers are those who get an ‘A’ in the exam. According to Ibrahim (2003) in Siti Rahayah et. al (2011), that interpretation leads to confusion when people defined students who do not get high or outstanding achievement in public examinations as a failure, and failure is regarded as a failure for life. Persistent confusion this causes people to stick to the stigma, where achievement and school success as the credibility of success in the workplace or in life. Result, the number of school dropouts and marginalized can cause problems for the country. Thus, we must move to a belief that all human potential and can show their potential in a variety of forms and conditions. Failure in the examination does not mean they did not have the skills.

Meanwhile, there also found criminal cases in adolescents and even rape, teenage having sex and unintended pregnancy is also increasing every year (Salhah, 2012). Teenage girls who are victims of rape suffer from stress and low self-esteem show associated with depression and coping strategies misconduct (maladaptive) until try to commit suicide or to continue to engage in sex. Hence, it is very important to a study tracking adolescent self-esteem and coping strategy and its relationship with multiple intelligence because there are adolescent involved in the misconduct behavior. These studies are important as a guide for counselors and parents to track adolescent profile to planning prevention and rehabilitation programs.


The following are objectives of this study:

To identify the demographic profiles of adolescents in Rantau, Negeri Sembilan.
To identify the psychological profile of adolescents from the aspects of:
Multiple intelligences
Coping strategies
To identify the relationship between multiple intelligences, self esteem and coping strategies among adolescents in Rantau, Negeri Sembilan.
To identify is there any significant differences between in multiple intelligences, self-esteem and coping strategies.

Specifically, this study seeks to answer the following research questions:-

What is the demographic profile of the adolescents in Rantau, Negeri Sembilan?
What is the psychological profile of adolescents from the aspects of:
Multiple intelligences
Self esteem
Coping strategies
What is the relationship between multiple intelligences, self esteem and coping strategies among adolescents in Rantau, Negeri Sembilan?
Is there any differences between gender in multiple intelligences, self-esteem and coping strategies?

The above research questions are translated into the following hypothesis:

H1: There is a statistically significant relationship between multiple intelligences and self-esteem.
H2: There is a statistically significant relationship between coping strategies and self-esteem.
H3: There is a statistically significant relationship among factors in multiple intelligences.
H4: There is a statistically significant relationship among factors in coping strategies.
H5: There is a statistical significant differences between gender and multiple intelligences, self-esteem and coping strategies.

There has been many research and studies conducted that related to a study on multiple intelligences, self esteem and coping strategies in integrating both of the items. Differently, this study helps to understand the relationship between the three items which are multiple intelligences, self esteem and coping strategy among adolescents at the secondary school in Rantau, Negeri Sembilan.

It helps the related parties such as counselor and school administrator in understanding the trend of nowadays adolescents thereby increasing the academic performance of the student. The findings of this study also can be used as feedback to the school principals, teachers, parents and the community about the real situation at the school in the hope they are more concerned about the character building of students.

This study is also useful for the researcher to know deeply about the demographic profile of secondary students in Rantau, Negeri Sembilan related to multiple intelligences, self esteem and coping strategies which is no research has been made. The new finding will be discovered and it is beneficial to be a reference to others on related topic in the future.


This study focused on assesing students’ multiple intelligences, self-esteem and coping strategies. Subject study is limited to students in form one, form two, form three and form four in Sekolah Menengah Agama Rantau, Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Rantau, and Sekolah Menengah Dato’ Shamsudin Nain which is in Rantau, Negeri Sembilan.


1.9.1Conceptual Definition Adolescent

According to the National Adolescent Health Plan by Ministry of Health, Malaysia the terms “youth”, “adolescents” and “young people” are used interchangeably to describe teenagers. It defines adolescent as the segment of the Malaysian population between the ages of 10 and 19 years (Liow Tiong Lai, 2008). It is parallel with the growth and developmental process which the adolescence period can further be divided into three category; early adolescence (10 to 14 years), middle adolescence (15 to 17 years) and late adolescence (18 to 19 years). In other definition, adolescent is considered as a child who is under 18 years old as stated in Child Act 2001 in Malaysia Legislation (Akta Kanak-kanak, 2001). Multiple Intelligences

Intelligence (general): A very general mental ability, such reasons include the ability to formulate, plan, able to solve problems, be able to think abstractly, can deepen complex ideas, learn quickly, and learn through experience. Intelligence (Gardner): A biopsychological potential to process information in certain ways, in order to solve problems or fashion products that are valued in a culture or community. Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is seen as a component of building a more inclusive, usually labeled as self-concept or self-perception (Beane & Lipka, 1980; Calhoun & Morse, 1977; Dickstein, 1977; Rosenberg, 1979). Self-concept is viewed as the aspects of one’s self image that are basically descriptive and non judgmental, whereas self-esteem is construed as those aspects or attitudes that are classified as self-evaluative. Coping Strategies

It is defined as an action, a series of actions, or a thinking process used in meeting a stressful or unpleasant situation or in modifying one’s reaction to such a situation. Coping strategies typically involved a conscious and direct approach to problems (APA, 2009).

1.9.2Operational Definition

In this study adolescents are referred to the secondary school student from the age of 13 until 17 years old. Multiple Intelligences

The multiple intelligences in this study are measured using the revised version of Multiple Intelligences Self Inventory (MISI) by Salhah Abdullah, Norhaliza Muaidi, Nor Helwa Sansuri and Syaima Shamsudin (2013) which is adapted from Salhah Abdullah & Rezki Perdani Sawai (2009). It is originally from Edward Gardner (1999) that identifies eight multiple intelligences which is

verbal-linguistic, logic-mathematical, spatial, kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic. In this adapted version, there is addition of two intelligences that is appropriate with Malay and Muslim culture in Malaysia which is moral and spiritual. Self-Esteem

In this study, the level of self-esteem of the student is measure using the The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES) in Malay version. Coping Strategies

In determine the coping strategies, researcher use the Coping Strategy Inventory (CSI) by Tobin and translated into Malay version by Salhah Abdullah, Sapora Sipon, Dini Farhana & Rezki Perdani (2010)


The developed country as Malaysia is having a great changes to the psycholgical to the adolescents. The study in the context of Muslim adolescents is needed to see how the era of technology affected their capability in survive as a adolescent. This research is aiming to describing the relationship of multiple intelligences, self-esteem and coping strategies among Muslim adolescent in religious school.

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