• Sara Pedersen, Research Unit on Children's Psychosocial Maladjustment, University of Montreal; Edward Seidman, William T. Grant Foundation.

  • Sara Pedersen, presently with the National Center for Children in Poverty, Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University.

  • Work on this article was supported in part by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health (MH43984) and the Carnegie Corporation (B4850) awarded to Edward Seidman, J. Lawrence Aber, LaRue Allen, and Christina Mitchell. We express our appreciation to the adolescents and schools whose cooperation made this study possible. We would also like to thank J. Lawrence Aber, Niall Bolger, David L. DuBois, Andrew J. Fuligni, Patrick E. Shrout, and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions on previous drafts of this manuscript.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Sara Pedersen, Research Unit on Children's Psychosocial Maladjustment, University of Montreal, 3050 Edouard Montpetit Boulevard, Montreal, Quebec H3T 1J7, Canada. E-mail:


In this study we investigate the contribution of achievement in team sports to adolescent girls' self-esteem development. Adolescent girls (N= 247) from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds were surveyed as part of a larger study investigating the development of poor urban youth. Participants responded to items tapping global self-esteem, team sports achievement, and athletic self-evaluations. The results of hierarchical regression analyses indicate that girls' team sports achievement experiences in early adolescence are positively associated with self-esteem in middle adolescence. This relationship is partially mediated by team sports self-evaluations. Applications of these findings to the development of interventions designed to enhance the self-esteem of young women and girls are discussed.