Pathways to Early Pregnancy by Race/Ethnic and Class Locations: Adolescent Girls’ Self-Concepts and Ambivalence towards Pregnancy

Sarah M. Kendig, University of Texas at Austin

An important paradox in the adolescent pregnancy literature is that adolescent girls’ stronger self-concepts (e.g., higher efficacy and self-esteem) are thought to reduce the likelihood of becoming pregnant: However, minority adolescents, particularly Black girls, have stronger self-concepts than White girls yet have higher pregnancy and birth rates in adolescence. Thus, the self-concept may be less protective against pregnancy for certain groups depending on their race/ethnicity or class. Utilizing the Add Health dataset (N = 4,892), this paper explores this paradox with a focus on the influence of adolescent girls’ self-concepts on their feelings of ambivalence towards pregnancy and how this relationship varies by race/ethnicity and class. Results indicate that stronger self-concepts are protective against girls’ ambivalence towards pregnancy one year later. Two- and three-way interactions reveal educational aspirations are protective for high-SES White girls and low-SES Black girls whereas educational expectations are protective for low-SES White and high-SES Black girls.

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Presented in Poster Session 2