Senior Honors Projects, 2010-2019

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Summer 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Department of Health Sciences


Katherine Ott-Walter


The purpose of this research study was to examine the relationship between self- esteem and high-risk sexual behaviors. This project aimed to determine if there was a significant difference in this relationship in Black females and non-Black females. Exploring self-esteem and high-risk sexual behaviors could enhance sexual health programs. A pilot survey was developed to measure high-risk behaviors, self-esteem and intentions of practicing safe sex. The survey was distributed via email to all female undergraduate students attending James Madison University during the Spring 2015 semester. SPSS was used to analyze the data collected. The participants of the study (n=268) were given scores based on their responses in the categories of risk behaviors, self-esteem and intentions. It was found that Black females have significantly higher self- esteem than their non-Black counterparts using the t-test (p=0.018). Findings of this study also suggested high-risk behavior and self-esteem have no correlation (p=0.051). High-risk behaviors and intentions to practice safe sex also had no correlation (p=- 0.014). Neither of these correlations were statistically significant and both were found using Pearson’s correlation. Of the 268 participants, only 21 were Black. In the future, a larger scale study where all races were equally represented may lead to more generalizable and significant results. Future studies on this topic should also examine the origin of high or low self-esteem.



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