Prevention Science

, 10:366 | Cite as

Maternal Influence on Adolescent Self-Esteem, Ethnic Pride and Intentions to Engage in Risk Behavior in Latino Youth



This study examined the relationship between ethnic pride, self-esteem and adolescent intentions to smoke cigarettes and engage in sexual intercourse. It also explored the influence of maternal levels of ethnic pride and self-esteem as indirect predictors of adolescent risk intentions. Middle school youth were randomly selected from six schools in the Bronx, NY. A total of 1,538 adolescents and their mothers were recruited. Mothers completed self-administered questionnaires about self-esteem and ethnic pride. Adolescents completed self-administered questionnaires about their intentions to engage in risk behaviors, as well as items about community connectedness, language spoken at home, self-esteem and ethnic pride. Results suggest that adolescent ethnic pride had protective effects on risk intentions through the mediator of self-esteem as well as independent of it. Maternal ethnic pride was associated with adolescent ethnic pride and, in turn, risk intentions, but the effect was weak in magnitude. Speaking Spanish at home was not significantly associated with ethnic pride. Both age and gender were related to ethnic pride, with ethnic pride diminishing as adolescents became older and females having higher levels of ethnic pride than males.


Adolescent risk behavior Latino youth Ethnic pride Self-esteem Maternal influence 



This research was supported by funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cooperative Agreement #U87/CCU220155-3-0. The findings and conclusions in this paper are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the CDC.


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Copyright information

© Society for Prevention Research 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social WorkColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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