Publication Date


Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Teens in the United States have the highest pregnancy, abortion, and sexually transmitted disease rates among the developed countries. The social and financial costs of teen births are staggering. Research shows that high self-esteem is significantly related to resistance to group pressures, willingness to express unpopular opinions, family adjustment, creativity, and effective communication between parents and youth. The research question is: Will a 5-hour course in growth and development increase the level of self-esteem in fifth grade students? A convenience sample of 20 students (13 girls and 7 boys) who attend a public elementary school in San Jose, California, comprised the subjects. The Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory (SEI) was given as a pretest and posttest. Five 1-hour sessions were presented after the pretest. Results from this study showed that a short course did not effect significant changes. Development and molding of self-esteem is an extremely complex task which can be influenced by experiences and interactions from all milieus. It is noteworthy. that both girls and boys scored high in the Social-Self-Peers category. Instruction which is effective as well as influential should target that facet of development in preadolescents.