Differences in Global Self-Esteem between Nonsmokers, Smokers, and Smokers who Smoke to Cope with Social Anxiety
Mary A. Couvillion, Student, School of Psychology; Suzi W. Highfill, Student, School of Psychology; Jared P. Dempsey, Ph.D., Faculty, School of Psychology
The present study will examine whether significant differences exist between nonsmokers, smokers, and smokers who smoke to cope with social anxiety on global self-esteem scores. Smoking to cope refers to smoking behaviors which are engaged in by socially anxious individuals in order to alleviate their feelings of social awkwardness, insecurity, and unease. Global self-esteem can be understood as an individual’s overall appraisal of his or her value, significance, and general worth (Rosenberg, 1965; Blascovich & Tomaka, 1991). There is some indication that global self-esteem may act as a defense against the effects of anxiety (Pyszczynski, Greenberg, Solomon, Arndt, & Schimel, 2004) and that high levels of global self-esteem may be negatively correlated with emotional distress in reaction to failure (Dutton & Brown, 1997). Participants included 1,590 undergraduate students from an introductory psychology course at a large university in the southwest. These participants completed the Smoking to Cope Questionnaire (STC) which consists of 16 items which measure self-reported levels of smoking behaviors utilized in order to cope with social anxiety. The STC was based on the Drinking to Cope survey (Thomas, Randall, Book, & Randall, 2008). Participants also completed the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES; Rosenberg, 1965) which assesses levels of global self-esteem. It was hypothesized that there will be significant differences on global self-esteem scores between the three groups and that mean scores on the RSES will be lowest for smokers who smoke to cope with social anxiety in comparison to both nonsmokers and smokers who do not smoke to cope.