Adolescent Issues

Self-Destructive Behaviors

American youth today are often considered to be in a state of crisis. Approximately half of all adolescent are at moderate to high risk of engaging in one or more self-destructive behaviors, including eating disorders, self-injury, unsafe sex, drug and alcohol abuse; under achievement, failure, or dropping out of school, delinquent or criminal behaviors. Many of these problem behaviors are interrelated. Some of these behaviors are related to the multitude of physical, social, and emotional changes adolescents are experiencing. Some are related to dysfunction in families; violence in the streets and at home; and media that desensitizes alcohol and drug use, extramarital sex, and violence.


What is self-esteem? It is the opinion you have of yourself and your value as a person. The development of a sense of self, “who am I”, is a major, if not the most important, developmental task of adolescence. Low self-esteem as well as low levels of social confidence; assertiveness, personal control and self-efficacy have been recognized as risk factors for a teen to engage in self-destructive behaviors.