Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Carol C. Howell, RN, PhD - Chair

Second Advisor

Dana Edwards, PhD

Third Advisor

Patsy L. Ruchala, RN, DNSc


Although there is a growing body of research in the area of adolescent pregnancy and parenting, relatively little research has addressed the psychological effects of pregnancy on the adolescent. A descriptive correlational study was utilized to examine levels of depressive symptomatology, self-esteem, perceived social support from family and friends, and the relationship among these variables in the pregnant adolescent. A second purpose of the study was to describe characteristics of the pregnant adolescent (age, race or ethnicity and educational level). The theoretical framework for this study was derived from The Conceptual Model of Support During Adolescent Pregnancy. Participants for the study were recruited from two school programs for pregnant adolescents, a physicians office, and a clinic. A convenience sample of 90 single pregnant teens between the ages of 13 to 18 participated in the study. The teens completed a demographic form and four questionnaires: the Reynolds Adolescent Depression Scale, the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, the Perceived Social Support from Family Scale, and the Perceived Social Support from Friends Scale. Demographic data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was computed to determine the significance between the depression scores and each of the demographic variables. The relationship between the adolescent's total depression score and self-esteem, perceived family support, and perceived peer support were determined by computing Pearson product-moment correlations. Regression analyses were conducted to determine the best linear model to explain the variance in the total depression scores and the combination of the independent variables (self-esteem, perceived social support from family, and perceived social support from friends) in the pregnant adolescent. Thirteen (14%) of the adolescents exceeded the cutoff score of 77. The regression analysis of the RADS-2 score on the predictor variables (self-esteem, perceived support from family, and perceived support from friends) accounts for 56.9% of variance in depression of adolescents during pregnancy. The adolescents in this study who experienced increased self-esteem and perceived support from family and friends had decreased scores on the RADS-2 scale. Increased self-esteem or feelings of self-worth was the most significant variable in this study as a predictor of depressive symptomatology.