The study sought to investigate the influence of socio-economic background on self-esteem of female adolescent students in the Ho Municipality in the Volta Region of Ghana. The study employed a descriptive survey design with the quantitative approach. A sample of 400 female adolescent Senior High School students were used for the study. The participants were selected using the simple random and purposive sampling procedures. A close-ended type questionnaire developed by the researcher was used and it comprised three (3) sections (A-C) containing 30 items. Data were analysed using inferential statistics (ANOVA, Chi-square (χ2), independent samples t-test) and descriptive statistics (means, standard deviations, frequencies and percentages). The study revealed that female adolescent students in the Ho Municipality had high self-esteem. Furthermore, it was revealed that their self-esteem was not different based on their age category. The findings of the study indicated that adolescent girls understood who they were through counselling and parental advice and related positively with their peers which improved their self-esteem. It was therefore recommended that female adolescent students be guided through life irrespective of their background. Again, the adolescents should be helped to build their self-esteem and this may be included in their social studies curriculum.

Background to the Study
Adolescence is considered a precious but seemingly turbulent moment in every developing child. Adolescence as an epoch of development can be defined as a transitional period between childhood and adulthood, whose traditional drive is towards the preparation of children for adult roles (Larson

Wilson, 2004). Biologically, adolescence is define as the physical transition marked by the onset of puberty and the termination of physical growth; cognitively, as changes in the ability to think hypothetically and multi-dimensionally; or socially, as a period of preparation for adult roles (Arnett, 2007). To Arnett (2007), main pubertal and biological changes include changes to the sex structures, height, weight, and muscle mass, as well as major changes in brain structure and organization. Mental advances encompass both increments in knowledge and in the ability to think abstractly and to reason more effectively.

In a different way, Colemen and Roker (1998) defined adolescence as a period of multiple transitions involving education, training, employment and unemployment, as well as transitions from one living circumstance to another. As the objectives of adolescence are well articulated, these objectives do not occur or solved at once in a smooth way but face challenges in their

accomplishment due to many factors that are not excluding adolescents’ socioeconomic backgrounds. By definition, Baker (2014) asserted that socioeconomic background is a measure of one’s combined economic and social status and tends to be positively associated with better development. This definition focuses on three collective areas of socioeconomic status; education, income and occupation. An individual’s background is believed to have a toll on the person’s development including his or her self-esteem. Marmot (as cited in Hunt & Sweeting, 2014) indicated that, an individual’s social status has both material and psychosocial dimensions and operates on different structural levels and is more important in adolescence.

Sang (2015) indicated that adolescent students’ background factors are important in their lives and may determine the developmental outcomes and the levels of self-esteem. According to Sang (2015), among the factors that may determine the developmental outcomes of adolescents are the family’s socio economic status, family type and the home location. To Sang (2015), family Socio economic status is commonly determined by the parental level of education, occupation and income levels.

Researchers were of the view that social disparities have established in the bodily activity and development of adolescents, with adolescents with low-educated or low- income parents being less bodily active and developed (WHO, 2006; Mota, Ribeiro & Santos, 2009). Dishion and Patterson (as cited in Donna, 2014) indicated that research suggests family environments as part of socioeconomic background constitute the basic ecology where adolescents’ behaviour is displayed, learned, stimulated and stifled. It is also noted that parents’ roles in the family environment have principally been to nurture adolescents for adulthood through directions and corrections. It is therefore understandable that the development of adolescent in totality cannot write off the value and power socioeconomic background has on them. The influence is believed to be intertwined and espouses many developmental tasks of adolescents’ including self-esteem. To Mertens (2014), the period of adolescence can be difficult for both parents and offspring as components of socioeconomic background; therefore, understanding the significance of preserving high quality parenting is particularly indispensable. The influence of socioeconomic background during adolescence continues to affect behaviours and self-esteem even into adulthood.
Sang (2015) in a study indicated that self-esteem has been noted to be a very important aspect of adolescents’ self-development because the evaluation of competencies affects their emotional experiences, future behaviour and long term psychological adjustment. It has been observed that adolescents with favourable self-esteem profiles tend to be well adjusted, sociable and conscientious (Sang, 2015). According to Berk (2006), self-esteem fluctuates as the children develop an overall view of themselves within the environment where they are growing up. This is especially true of adolescent students whose persistent low self-esteem often translates to more serious problems linked to low achievement (Berk, 2006).

Hall and Rowe (1991) noted that adolescents’ feelings of self-respect affected all facets of their lives and strongly powered the realization of their prospective. It is believed that adolescents with high self-esteem are emotionally stable, mature and can handle live’ challenges better than adolescents with low self-esteem who tend to be more unstable and dependent. According to Slavin (2006), the state of the home environment, the social norms that govern behaviour in the community an adolescent student belongs and the school experiences have been noted to have influence not only the academic achievement of the student but self-esteem as well.

Mutie and Ndambuki (as cited in Sang, 2015) reported that adolescent students’ self-esteem functions as a guide to deciding what to be and what to do in the future. It helps students to understand themselves and therefore controlled and regulated their behaviours. Mutie and Ndambuki (as cited in Sang, 2015) further assert that adolescence is an important time for development of self-esteem, a positive self-image or self-evaluation. According to Sang (2015), the adolescents compare their real and ideal self and judge themselves by how well they measure up to social standards and expectations and how well they perform. Positive self-esteem and high academic achievement can make a difference in determining whether the individual will be happy or unhappy.

Berk (2006) opined that the value of significant others within the adolescent student’s socio-economic background in influencing the self-esteem and academic achievement cannot be ignored. The level of education of parents contributes substantially in stimulating the achievement orientation in their children with parents with higher education levels being in a better position to impart the virtue of good performance to their children. The continuous stressors combined with poverty reduced parental involvement nurturing their adolescents and hostile living environments profoundly affect the adolescents’ self-esteem and academic achievement (Berk, 2006). Barry (2005) further observed that those adolescent students who live in high quality neighborhoods are noted to perform better in school and develop high self-esteem than their counterparts in low quality neighbourhoods.

Statement of the Problem
Adolescence in no doubt is a turbulent stage in human development (Arnett, 2006). The turbulent situation is partly a result of the imminent and inherent changes that come with the period of adolescence. The demands for making a successful progression from adolescence to adulthood and develop a good self-esteem rest on multiple factors including adolescents socio-economic background, which is believed to have a link with the development of self-esteem in the lives of adolescents (Arnett, 2006).

In adolescence, children blindly strive to meet the demands of the imminent changes by way of following directions from significant others such as parents and peers. Adolescence as a period of changing order in terms of friendship and development of self-esteem in the lives of adolescents cannot downplay the essence societal or family background have on the imminent change and development. A child’s first school in life is the family, where he or she learns the protocols of the environment, which would in turn lead the child towards other developmental tasks such as self-esteem (Arnett, 2006).

Socio-economic position is believed generally to have impact on the adolescents’ total development rather than the usual impact on performance. This presupposes that socio-economic background may have influence on the self-esteem of adolescence. At adolescence, young people undergo important changes, influenced not only by the already-mentioned socio-economic status, but also by variety of other intrapersonal, interpersonal and sociocultural determinants (Engels, Finkenauer & Meeus, 2002). Adolescence, the period of transition from childhood to adulthood, is a critical time for the development of lifelong perceptions, beliefs, values and practices. It is accepted that adolescents struggle with the developmental tasks of establishing identity, accepting changes in physical characteristics, learning skills for a healthy lifestyle, separating from family and generally evaluating the self (Susman, Dorn, & Schiefelbein, 2003).

According to Anderson and Olnhausen (1999) before entering adulthood, it is important for adolescents to develop high self-esteem and the ability to care for themselves. In this case, adolescents with sound socio-economic backgrounds are likely to develop high self-esteem and the vice-versa. Eamon (2005) in a study reported that low socio-economic background prevents opportunities that are meant for adolescents and increase their worries and struggles at home, thus, it affects the development of their self-esteem. Cooke, Hague, and McKay (2016) in their report on Ghana poverty and inequality indicated that, as at 2013 the poverty rate in Volta region was 33.81% which implies that, low socio-economic background may affect the self-esteem of adolescent girls who are most vulnerable due to poverty in the Ho municipality. Again, the researcher through church activities and interaction with adolescents realised that most of them experienced some level of poverty which is likely to affect their self-esteem. Besides, there is empirical research in this domain in the Ho Municipality but few. It is based on this backdrop that the study intend to investigate the influence of socio-economic backgrounds on the self-esteem of senior high school adolescent girls.

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