Bidimensional self-esteem and sexual functioning among Malaysian young adults: the moderating role of relationship status

Li Voon Kong, Pei Hwa Goh, Rachel Sing-Kiat Ting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Despite typically being studied as a unidimensional construct, self-esteem has been proposed to comprise of two distinct but highly correlated domains: self-competence and self-liking. This study aimed to examine how the two domains of self-esteem predict the sexual functioning of young adults in Malaysia, and the potential role of relationship status as a moderator. A total of 314 Malaysian young adults aged 21.08 years on average (SD = 1.84) completed the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale and the Female Sexual Function Index. Results suggest that self-competence, but not self-liking, was positively associated with sexual arousal, lubrication/erection, and orgasm among those who were single. Aside from the sexual functioning domain of sexual pain, no significant associations between self-esteem and sexual functioning were found among those who were in a relationship. These findings provide support to the bidimensional conceptualisation of self-esteem in the context of sexual well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-44
Number of pages14
JournalPsychology & Sexuality
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2023


  • relationship status
  • self-esteem
  • Sexual function
  • young adults

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