Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 567–581 | Cite as

Pregnant and Parenting Adolescents: A Study of Ethnic Identity, Emotional and Behavioral Functioning, Child Characteristics, and Social Support

  • Karin Sieger
  • Kimberly Renk
Original Paper


This study examined relationships among the ethnic identity, behavior problems, self-esteem, and social support of 166 ethnically diverse pregnant and parenting adolescents, the majority of whom were African American and Hispanic American, and their infants. Results indicated that pregnant and parenting adolescent females were experiencing nonclinical levels of behavior problems on average and did not differ in their ratings of the variables examined in this study. In addition, social support moderated the relationship between behavior problems and self-esteem for these adolescents. Further, social support mediated the relationship between ethnic identity and internalizing behavior problems as well as between ethnic identity and self-esteem. Finally, parenting adolescents rated their infants as experiencing “at risk” levels of difficulties. Although parenting adolescents’ experience of behavior problems and self-esteem was related significantly to their infants’ difficulties, none of the variables examined in this study predicted significantly parenting stress. These results suggested that interventions targeting social support may be helpful for improving the functioning of pregnant and parenting adolescents and their infants.


Adolescent pregnancy Ethnic identity Behavior problems Self-esteem Social support 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.N.J. CARES (New Jersey Child Abuse Research, Education, and Service) InstituteUniversity of Medicine and Dentistry of New JerseyNew JerseyUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA

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