The changing self-concept of pregnant and parenting teens

Rojann Alpers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Self-concept has been recognized and researched as a powerful variable in relation to teenage pregnancy. Low self-concept frequently has been identified as a cause and consequence of teenage pregnancy as well as a factor in participation and compliance with health care recommendations. Most of the research on self-concept and teenage pregnancy occurred in the 1970s to mid-1980s, and all found lower self-concept in pregnant and parenting teens when compared with their nonpregnant contemporaries and normative data. This study found the opposite to be true. The 126 pregnant and parenting teens in this study had higher self-concepts than the reported normative group. Also, important variations in self-concept were found in relation to sociodemographics. This potentially suggests that what was once known about this aggregate is no longer true, and a reinvestigation is warranted. The purpose of this study was to reinvestigate the self-concept of pregnant and parenting teens and compare them with published normative data and to examine the relationship between sociodemographics and self-concept. The study employed a survey methodology. Data were analyzed using frequencies, percentages, measures of central tendency and dispersion, t test, chi-square test, and analysis of variance. This study found that pregnant and parenting teens had a higher self-concept than the normative data on nonpregnant teens reported by the research instrument authors. Furthermore, this older sample of pregnant and parenting teens (mean age, 17.83 years) had self-concepts more similar to the junior high school normative sample than their senior high school-age contemporaries. Also, this study found that self-concept varies according to the pregnant and parenting teens' ages, years of schooling, types of schools attended, income sources, and receipt of public assistance. This study has implications for health care providers, health and public educators, and nursing researchers in terms of program development and evaluation, health marketing, and development of primary prevention strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-118
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Professional Nursing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998


  • Self-concept and self-esteem
  • Teenage and adolescent pregnancy
  • Tennessee Self-Concept Scale

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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