Adolescent Girls’ Ambivalence Towards Pregnancy: The Role of the Self-Concept and Race/Ethnic and Class Locations

Sarah M. Kendig, University of Maryland

An important paradox in adolescent pregnancy is the fact 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 National Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health, N = 5,690), this paper begins to disentangle this paradox with a focus on the influence of the self-concept on adolescent girls’ ambivalence towards becoming pregnant by particular race/ethnic and class locations. Preliminary results suggest a relationship between girls’ self-concepts and ambivalence and that race/ethnic and class differences are evident. The connection between girls’ self-concepts and ambivalence may be crucial for understanding race/ethnic and class differences in the pathways leading to adolescent pregnancy.

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Presented in Session 176: Contraception Non-Use and Risk of Unintended Pregnancy