All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Loucrecia Collins

Advisory Committee Members

Andrew McKnight

John A Dantzler

Susan L Davies

Evelyn L Nettles

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Education


Understanding the significance of one’s ethnic group is pivotal to comprehending and defining one’s overall process of self-perception, its influence on academic achievement, and probability for future success as well as personal fulfillment, especially among adolescents (Hill, Mance, Anderson, & Smith, 2012). Consequently, an adolescent’s view of self is often directly associated with personal interactions with individuals closest in nature and proximity. To explore the effects of self-perception among fifth-grade adolescents, a quantitative study was conducted to examine physical appearance and self-worth disparities among pre-adolescent Black, Hispanic, and White youth. For this research, three racial identity developmental theories were applied, observed, and evaluated to assess student perceptions as related to racial/ethnic demographic as well as BMI, parental income, gender, and levels of parental education. To test these predictors, the researcher used cross-sectional data from Healthy Passages, a three-community study of 5,250 fifth-graders and their parents. Linear regressions examined the relationships between self-perceptions of physical appearance and self-worth to race/ethnicity, parent education, parent income, BMI, and gender differences. Results from this investigation found that gender had no significant relationship to fifth grade Self-Perception of Self-Worth. Similarly, household income had no relationship to the fifth grade Self-Perception of Physical Appearance. The only variables that had a substantial predictive relationship to Self-Perception of Self-Worth for fifth graders were Black, Hispanic, parent education, household income, and BMI. The only variables that had a substantial predictive relationship to Self-Perception of Physical Appearance were Gender, Black, Hispanic, education of caregiver, and BMI. If a child is Black, the decrease in self-perception of Self-Worth was 0.365 points; the decrease in self-perception of Physical Appearance was 0.559 points. For Physical Appearance, a child’s gender and being Black had a positive relationship to a fifth grader’s self-perception. The same was true for Self-Worth, education level of caregiver, and household income, all of which had a positive relationship to a fifth grader’s self-perception of self-worth. Results suggested that addressing racial/ethnic and gender differences of discrimination could lead to considerable reductions in self-perception issues, including those related to physical appearance, among Black, White, and Hispanic youth.

Included in

Education Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.