The Relation between Self-Esteem, Sexual Activity, and Pregnancy
Robinson, Rachel B., Frank, Deborah I., Adolescence
The high incidence of teenage pregnancy is a problem that continues to face our society. The United States leads all other developed nations in the incidence of pregnancy among adolescents aged 15-19 (Wallis, 1985). Further, studies indicate an increase in sexual activity among the teen population (Lundberg & Plotnick, 1990) with an estimated 50-58% being sexually active, suggesting that teen pregnancy will continue to be a major problem.
Research aimed at evaluating sex education as a means of preventing teen pregnancy has suggested that it will not be effective unless contraceptive services and community support are available (Hayes et al., 1987). Further, Hepfer (1988) recommends that programs should focus on increasing adolescents' self-esteem, since they are in the stage where developing a positive self-concept is a major task. This recommendation is supported by research which reveals a relation among poor self-concept, sexual activity, and pregnancy (Kissman, 1990). Others have asserted that teenage boys confirm their masculinity through sexual activity and fathering children (Friedman, 1990; Castiglia, 1990).
While sexual activity and resulting pregnancy may be a means for bolstering self-esteem and sexual identity, the research is certainly not conclusive. For instance, Dilorio and Riley (1988) found no relation between the variables of diminished self-concept, loneliness, and pregnancy. Further, McCullough and Scherman (1991), found that their sample of pregnant adolescents and teen mothers did not have negative views of themselves. In addition, there is a paucity of empirical data about teenage males to support the self-esteem, sexual activity, fathering a child linkage (Meyer, 1991). Thus, this study sought to further examine the relation between self-esteem, sexuality, and pregnancy in a racially mixed sample of male and female teens.
Four hypotheses regarding sexual activity, pregnancy, and self-esteem were examined.
1. Sexually active males will report higher levels of self-esteem than nonsexually active males.
2. Sexually active females will report lower levels of self-esteem than nonsexually active females.
3. Pregnant females will report higher levels of self-esteem than nonpregnant females.
4. Males who …
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Publication information: Article title: The Relation between Self-Esteem, Sexual Activity, and Pregnancy. Contributors: Robinson, Rachel B. - Author, Frank, Deborah I. - Author. Journal title: Adolescence. Volume: 29. Issue: 113 Publication date: Spring 1994. Page number: 27+. © 1999 Libra Publishers, Inc. COPYRIGHT 1994 Gale Group.
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