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Is Self-Esteem a "Double Edged Sword"? Self-Esteem and the Onset of Adolescent Sexual Activity

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  • Favara, Marta

    ()
    (World Bank)

Abstract

Self-esteem has been conceptualized as a "social vaccine". The belief is that high self-esteem can inoculate young people, against vulnerability to a wide range of social illnesses. This study gives a contribution in the understanding of the causal relation between self-esteem and sexual behaviour among American adolescents. I analyzes the impact of different levels of early self-esteem on a wide set of risky sexual behaviours. I use data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and I take into account the endogeneity of self-esteem using instrumental variables methods and measuring self-esteem before sexual initiation. I find that self-esteem over a certain threshold' is a protective resource for girls, delaying the onset of sexual activity, reducing the number of occasional sexual partners and increasing the likelihood of having protected sexual encounters.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7171.

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Length: 68 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7171

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Related research

Keywords: self-esteem; adolescent's sexual behaviour; Add Health; instrumental variable model;

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  1. Marco Francesconi, 2008. "Adult Outcomes for Children of Teenage Mothers," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(1), pages 93-117, 03.
  2. Flavio Cunha & James Heckman & Susanne Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," NBER Working Papers 15664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Amemiya, Takeshi, 1978. "The Estimation of a Simultaneous Equation Generalized Probit Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(5), pages 1193-1205, September.
  4. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
  5. Ruud, Paul A., 2000. "An Introduction to Classical Econometric Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195111644, September.
  6. Borghans Lex & Lee Duckworth Angela & Heckman James J. & Weel Bas ter, 2008. "The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits," ROA Research Memorandum 001, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  7. Joan Kahn & William Kalsbeek & Sandra Hofferth, 1988. "National estimates of teenage sexual activity: Evaluating the comparability of three national surveys," Demography, Springer, vol. 25(2), pages 189-204, May.
  8. Almlund, Mathilde & Duckworth, Angela Lee & Heckman, James J. & Kautz, Tim, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," IZA Discussion Papers 5500, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Adam Ashcraft & Kevin Lang, 2006. "The Consequences of Teenage Childbearing," NBER Working Papers 12485, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Friedman, Herbert L., 1989. "The health of adolescents: Beliefs and behaviour," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 309-315, January.
  11. Jinyong Hahn & Jerry Hausman, 2003. "Weak Instruments: Diagnosis and Cures in Empirical Econometrics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 118-125, May.
  12. James H. Stock & Motohiro Yogo, 2002. "Testing for Weak Instruments in Linear IV Regression," NBER Technical Working Papers 0284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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