• adolescence;
  • gender;
  • mental health promotion;
  • multicultural;
  • schools;
  • self-esteem;
  • survey

Abstract  This study examined the global and current self-esteem levels of adolescents in a community sample of 550 secondary school students in Canada. A cross-sectional design and the survey method were used. Respondents' individual (age and gender) and environmental (cultural background, acculturating group, family circumstances, and perception of support) attributes were considered. Influences that promoted or challenged their current self-esteem were examined. Eighteen percent of respondents and 43.4% of respondents' parents were immigrants. When the Rosenberg Self-Esteem scale was used, 27.6% of respondents had the highest global self-esteem level; when the Current Self-Esteem scale was used, 12.7% had the highest current self-esteem level. A significant gender difference was found, with male adolescents having higher self-esteem. The results indicate that, although self-esteem promotion can benefit from lifestyle-oriented activities, its growth takes place in the larger context of adolescents' relationships, school-related experiences, achievements, and attitudes toward themselves. The study findings can contribute to mental health promotion strategies in multicultural and immigrant-receiving community settings.