Introduction: There are over 400,000 children in foster care on any given day in the United States (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). Youth with experiences in foster care often have worse health and social outcomes compared to the general population, related to the increased adversity they face (Gypen et al. 2019). The adversity and stigmatization related to foster care can negatively impact the self-esteem and identity of youth, which, according to Erikson, is a vital development that occurs within adolescence. Objective: The goal of this study was to determine the factors related to the self-esteem of adolescents in foster care. Methods: A literature review of 4 psychology and nursing databases, including CINAHL, PsycINFO, MEDLINE, and ScienceDirect, resulted in 16 articles related to self-esteem, identity development, and resilience among youth in foster care. Results: Many interventions were found to build self-esteem, the most effective based on adult mentorship and peer relationships (Yancey et al. 1998, Farineau et al. 2013). Self-esteem and sense of identity were found to be significant factors in the resilience, mental health, physical health, and behavioral problems of foster care youth (Yoon et al. 2019, Ferguson et al. 2018, Zabern and Bouteyre 2018). Conclusion: The results of this review suggest that a focus on self-esteem can positively impact the outcomes of those in foster care. In nursing practice and social work, using interventions to aid identity development can guide adolescents in foster care in overcoming the effects of childhood adversity.
Andrea Warner Stidham
Youth in foster care are likely to experience negative health and social outcomes throughout their lives related to the increased adversity they face. The adversity and stigmatization related to foster care can negatively impact the self-esteem and identity of youth. In a literature review of the factors related to the self-esteem of youth in foster care, it was found that increased self-esteem can be accomplished through a variety of interventions, particularly programs that focus on adult mentorship and peer relationships. When health care workers can include self-esteem in their interventions, youth in foster care are more likely to have better outcomes in the areas of mental, physical, and behavioral health.