Effective pregnancy prevention in adolescence remains elusive to researchers and health care providers. Several studies have been conducted on the relationship between self-esteem and race and between self-esteem and pregnancy in adolescent populations. The purpose of this study was to determine if a difference exists between self-esteem levels and race in pregnant adolescents. Leininger's Cultural Care Theory was the theoretical framework used in this study. The null hypothesis was there is no difference between self-esteem levels and race in pregnant adolescents. The setting for this descriptive comparison study was a prenatal clinic for underserved populations in the Southeastern United States. The sample consisted of 2 8 primigravida adolescents 14 to 18 years of age carrying a live fetus with a minimal gestational age of 12 weeks. Data analysis was accomplished using descriptive statistics and a two-tailed t test. While overall selfesteem levels as determined by the State Self-Esteem Scale (SSES) were relatively high (3.9 out of 5.0), a number of significant correlates emerged. Significant differences were found between the race, age, and gestational age of participants. The null hypothesis was rejected. Implications of nursing were given in the area of education, practice, research, and theory. Teaching culturally sensitive nursing interventions are needed at the baccalaureate and master's levels of nursing. Promoting self-esteem in adolescents using a culturally and ethnically sensitive aspect may improve prenatal care and pregnancy outcomes. Contentions of Leininger's Cultural Care Theory that interracial differences affect perceived views of self was supported. Recommendations for further study were for replication of the study using a larger sample size with a more diverse racial sample and a variety of settings. Also studies were recommended involving pregnant adolescents and differences between race and other demographic characteristics affecting selfesteem, how fostering self-esteem early in pregnancy affects pregnancy outcomes, and the relationship between familial support and self-esteem. Recommendations for practice included development of interventions to foster self-esteem in all adolescents, development of culturally sensitive prenatal care, and development of programs for families of pregnant adolescents which aid in fostering self-esteem.


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Graduate Nursing

Degree Date


Publication Number


First Advisor

Lorraine Hamm

Second Advisor

Dr. Patricia E. Smyth

Third Advisor

Dr. Linda Sullivan

Document Type


Included in

Nursing Commons