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Joan Chrisler

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Adolescent girls face many physical, cognitive, and social changes that can negatively affect their self-concept. Mentoring and empowerment programs that address the specific needs of adolescent girls can provide them with the tools to lead more empowered and positive lives. STEPS, a local girls’ empowerment program, empowers local New London, CT and Groton, CT middle and high-school students at their weekly meetings. The present study is an evaluation of this program. It was hypothesized that self-esteem, body-esteem, self-efficacy, and perceived social support would increase from the original baseline scores. Sixteen adolescent girls participating in the program completed the pre-and post-measures over a 10-week period. This study’s findings reveal that self-efficacy increased over the time period, Wilks’ Lambda = .54, F(1,15) = 12.55, p = .003, multivariate partial eta squared = .46. Perceptions of self-esteem, body-esteem, and perceived social support did not change. Participants’ qualitative responses to open-ended questions include prominent themes of self-love, positivity, confidence, and awareness, which suggest that the measures might also reveal significant changes at the year’s end of the program. Findings also revealed that 100% of STEPS girls would recommend the program to a friend. The girls greatly value the program and believe that is truly does foster a “safe space” for them to learn about themselves and others. These findings illustrate the positive impact of the STEPS program and will hopefully lead to greater funding and increased enrollment.



The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.