Self-esteem trajectories among ethnic minority adolescents: A growth curve analysis of the patterns and predictors of change

Melissa L. Greene, Niobe Way

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The current study presents a growth curve analysis of self-esteem among Black, Latino, and Asian American high school students. A series of hierarchical linear models were used to examine patterns and predictors of change in self-esteem over time. Results revealed an average increase in self-esteem with age. Although boys and girls experienced similar trajectories of self-esteem, ethnicity was a significant moderator of developmental change. Black adolescents reported higher self-esteem, while Asian American adolescents reported lower self-esteem, compared with their Latino peers. Latino adolescents experienced a sharper increase in self-esteem over time compared with Black adolescents. The unique and conjoint effects of adolescents' experiences with peers, family, and school were examined in relation to self-esteem trajectories. Results revealed that each perceived context was significantly associated with self-esteem trajectories when examined independently, but family experiences emerged as most strongly related to changes in self-esteem. Results underscore the need to examine change at the individual level, as well as the importance of studying the unique and conjoint effects of individual and contextual-level variables on developmental processes among ethnic minority adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-178
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Research on Adolescence
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 24 2005


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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