The role of self-esteem and gender in pen scores and risk-taking behaviour of learners in a South African school

  • Erhabor S. Idemudia
  • Nkele E. Sekano
Keywords: Personality/PEN/Risk-taking behaviour/Adolescents/School Learners/Self-Esteem/Gender


Psychological studies have shown adolescents to be the most highly associated with risk-taking behaviours (RTB) which lead to increased risks of accidents and untimely deaths. Studies have also linked psychoticism (P), extraversion (E) and neuroticism (N) to predict RTB to some extent but not on the moderation effects of self-esteem (SE) and gender on RTB bringing about inconsistencies hence the need for this study. The study used a cross-sectional research design with 491 randomly selected participants at a Secondary school in North West Province, South Africa. The sample consisted of 252 male and 239 female adolescents between 16 to 18 years of learners from grades 10 to 12. Data was collected using the EPQ-R short, Y-RTB and the Rosenberg SE scales which measured PEN, RTBs and SE respectively. Results showed a significant positive relationship between E (r= .14, p= 05); N (r= .013, p= .05) and RTB. P was not significant. Moderation results showed that SE (p<.04, β= .121) and gender (p<.001, β= .342) independently moderated PEN and RTB and as such making all PEN factors insignificant. Results further showed a significant interaction between N and SE (p< .05, β= -.382) and P (p< .001, β = .188), E (p< .022, β= .193), N (p< .000, β= .285) with gender. In line with the findings of the study, recommendations such as ways of enhancing SE programmes and emotion regulation of learners into school programme amongst others were recommended

Keywords: Personality/PEN/Risk-taking behaviour/Adolescents/School Learners/Self-Esteem/Gender


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1596-9231