Date of Award

Spring 2003

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Psychology and Behavioral Sciences

First Advisor

Jeffrey Walczyk


This study examined the relationship among life-skills, self-esteem, and well-being in 278 adults. Adults were classified into three age groups. Of the 278 participants, 96 were young adults, 92 were middle-aged, and 90 were older adults. Life-skills, global organizations of general coping skills that are learned behaviors which enable effective functioning, were assessed with the Life-Skills Inventory - Adult Form (Gazda, Illovsky, & Taylor, 1991). Analyses were performed to understand the influence of four generic life-skills areas, interpersonal communication/human relations, problem-solving/decision making, identity development/purpose in life, and physical fitness/health maintenance, on self-esteem. Self-esteem was measured with the Self-Esteem Inventory-Adult Form (Coopersmith, 1981). Additional analyses explored the relationship between those four life-skills areas and well-being. Well-being was assessed by the General Well-Being Schedule (Dupuy, 1978). Lastly, analyses examined whether self-esteem serves as a moderator between life-skills and well-being.

Results indicated that there are significant differences among the three age groups in regards to the life-skills dimensions of physical fitness/health maintenance and identity development/purpose in life. Additionally, the dimension of interpersonal communication/human relations was found to be a significant predictor of self-esteem across the stages of adulthood in a pattern largely supportive of Erikson's stages of psychosocial development (Erikson, 1950, 1963). A significant association was found between self-esteem and well-being, consistent with research identifying self-esteem as a component of well-being (Andrews & Robinson, 1991, Blascovich & Tomaka, 1991; Emmons & Diener, 1985b). Lastly, the study posited that self-esteem would serve as a moderator between life-skills and well-being. The results indicated that self-esteem can moderate the relationship. Clinical and theoretical implications are discussed, as well as, considerations for future research.