Pregnancy Status, Self-Esteem, and Ethnicity: Some Relationships in a Sample of Adolescents


  • Authors' Note: The study was supported by a Faculty Development grant awarded to the first author jointly by the Graduate School and the College of Human Ecology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The authors wish to thank Dr. James Moran III for his very insightful comments on an earlier draft of this article.


This study used the multidimensional construct of self-esteem to investigate the relationships among pregnancy status, self-esteem, and ethnicity. These relationships were examined in a sample of 100 pregnant/parenting and never-pregnant African American and European American female adolescents ranging in age from 15 to 19 years. Findings indicated that, although self-esteem and pregnancy status were associated for European American adolescents, these variables were not associated for African American adolescents. The study suggested that self-esteem is associated with pregnancy for European American adolescents but not for African Americans. Never-pregnant European American adolescents scored significantly better than their same-race pregnant counterparts on 10 of the 12 self-esteem dimensions examined.