Self-Esteem, Maternal Emotional Support, and Psychological Distress in Adolescence through the Transition to Adulthood: Black-White Differences in the United States

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2016-05
Authors
Bird, Omar
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2016]
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Abstract
Contradictory and paradoxical findings persist when examining racial differences between blacks and whites when examining self-esteem and psychological distress. For example, despite social disadvantage, blacks report higher levels of self-esteem compared to whites across all stages of the life course, but also report higher, lower or similar levels of psychological distress. Though research has found a reciprocal relationship between self-esteem and psychological distress, racial disparities in in these two areas require social researchers to inquire further. Thus, this study aims to fill some gaps in the literature on self-esteem and psychological distress in several areas: (1) the long-term effect of self-esteem in adolescence on psychological distress in young adulthood, (2) racial differences of the effects comparing black and white Americans, and (3) temporal ordering of psychological distress and self- esteem over a 13-15 year period. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, this study finds that though self-esteem in adolescence influences psychological distress in young adulthood among both groups, self-esteem explains more of the variation in distress among whites and multiple social factors in young adulthood (e.g., employment, household income and being easily stressed) mediates this relationship among blacks and not whites. Theoretical implications and future research are discussed.
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M.A. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2016.
Includes bibliographical references.
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self-esteem, mental health, life course perspective, social support
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Theses for the degree of Master of Arts (University of Hawaii at Manoa). Sociology
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