Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Adolescent pregnancy remains as one of the most pervasive socio- heaUh problems present in the United States. The health, economic, and social risk concomitant with adolescent pregnancy impacts on the child, mother, father, and society. Adolescent pregnancy, the problem that has not gone away, is an endemic phenomenon requiring long-term systematic intervention. It is imperative that underlying factors which contribute to this problem be identified so that subsequent research and educational programs can impact to reduce the problem.

One of the significant factors in teen pregnancy is low self esteem and self-concept. The purpose of this study was to examine the factors of lower self-image and determine the relationship between self- image and the risk of pregnancy. The investigative tool was based on the values clarification model. An analysis of domains relating to scholastic competence, social acceptance, physical appearance, romantic appeal, behavioral conduct, close friendship and global self-worth were analyzed against six "pregnancy items" written for this study. The sample population consisted of 89 participants, 48 female and 41 male. Participant dating frequency per week ranged from zero to six.

Pearson's correlation coefficient was used to determine the association between the domains of self-image and risk of pregnancy. All but three domains, Job Competence, Romantic Appeal, and Close Friendship, displayed a positive relationship. The coefficients were of a magnitude that suggests a weak to moderate relationship. Further data analysis revealed that students who reported having been pregnant, or having gotten a girl pregnant, had significantly lower mean scores for self-image than those who had not been pregnant or gotten a girl pregnant. Participants who indicated use of contraceptives also displayed lower self-image mean scores.

Suggestions for applicability of the findings of this pilot project relate to areas of future research, education, and nursing practice. Further research, with a larger population, is needed to establish the validity of the Risk of Pregnancy items that were developed for this study. The positive correlation noted between self- image and risk of pregnancy may have related to lack of construct validity. Demographic data relative to items such as birth control usage suggests the importance of coursework in schools of nursing in the areas of adolescent health and sex education. Nursing, as a profession, must also be prepared to squarely address socio-health care issues such as adolescent pregnancy, and must be ready to take the care to where it is needed--to the schools, to the neighborhoods, to the teenagers themselves.