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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

    () (University of Oxford)

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Favara, Marta, 2013. "Is Self-Esteem a "Double Edged Sword"? Self-Esteem and the Onset of Adolescent Sexual Activity," IZA Discussion Papers 7171, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7171
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ruud, Paul A., 2000. "An Introduction to Classical Econometric Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195111644.
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    4. Marco Francesconi, 2008. "Adult Outcomes for Children of Teenage Mothers," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(1), pages 93-117, March.
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    6. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Susanne M. Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 883-931, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Elsner, Benjamin & Isphording, Ingo E., 2015. "Rank, Sex, Drugs, and Crime," IZA Discussion Papers 9478, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • O51 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - U.S.; Canada

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