The present study evaluated 64 children and their primary caregivers who were living in poverty. The children were administered a stress measure, a social support measure, and a measure of self-esteem. Caregivers completed a stress measure, a measure of child adjustment, and a demographic questionnaire. Social support was not found to moderate the relationship between stress and child outcome. However, social support was found to be one possible mediator of the child's reported stress on their self-esteem. According to the mediating model, enhancing children's social support may positively influence their self-esteem. Greater levels of self-esteem can affect many aspects of children's lives, such as improving school performance and efforts toward achieving goals. Because of the important role that social support can play on children's self-esteem, social support should be actively promoted through school and community groups and organizations, especially with children from disadvantaged economic situations. © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.