One of the primary tasks of adolescence is the development of body self-esteem as they transition from children to young adults. This is also a time when many adolescents make decisions about risk behaviors that may affect their developing bodies such as drug use, smoking, and engaging in sexual activity. The current study examined the link between body self-esteem and sexual activity with the aim of predicting if high body self-esteem individuals differ from low body self-esteem individuals with regards to sexual risk-taking. This study was part of a larger study whose survey was based on two widely used and validated scales, the National Adolescent Student Health Survey (NASHS) and the CDC's Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS). The survey was administered to 3,131 students who attended religious secondary schools throughout the Caribbean. It was hypothesized that the plans and beliefs regarding sexual risk-taking of low body self-esteem individuals will be risker than those with high body self-esteem. Further, it was also the hypothesized that while individuals with high body self-esteem will engage in more sexual activity, the sexual behaviors of low body self-esteem individuals engage in will be riskier. Body self-esteem did not significantly predict plans or beliefs nor did it predict risky sexual activity. In all the analyses, gender proved to be the most significant factor in predicting risky sexual behaviors with males engaging in both riskier and more frequent sexual activities.

LLU Discipline

Clinical Psychology


Clinical Psychology


Graduate Studies

First Advisor

Paul Haerich

Second Advisor

Duane McBride

Third Advisor

Helen Hopp Marshak

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Adolescent Behavior -- Caribbean Region; Self Concept -- in adolescence -- Caribbean Region; Sexual Behavior -- in adolescence -- Caribbean Region; Risk-Taking -- in adolescence -- Caribbean Region



Page Count

ix; 78

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives