A prospective study of teen pregnancy

Date
1998
Authors
Hockaday, Catheryn
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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine prospectively the characteristics that may contribute to a teen becoming pregnant. The variables included self-esteem, locus of control, age-related risks, delinquency history, aspirations and expectations, family and school attitudes. Subjects, divided into a pregnant teen and comparison group, were 15-18 year-old females in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Results indicated that pregnant teens were more apt to have lower educational expectations and self-esteem, and more traditional family attitudes than the comparison group. Moreover, pregnant teens engaged in sexual intercourse, reached menarche, and drank alcohol at a younger age than the comparison group, as well as participated in delinquent activity more than the comparison group;There were many significant differences between black and white teens when the comparison group and pregnant teens were examined together. Black teens were more likely than white teens to expect marriage at an older age and have aspirations of working when they were 35 years old. Blacks were more apt than whites to have high educational wishes and expectations, high self-esteem, and more external locus of control. Black teens also participated in delinquent activities less often, and had sex at younger ages than white teens. Lastly, black teens began to drink, smoke cigarettes, and smoke marijuana at an older age than white teens. Regression analyses indicated that teen pregnancy in blacks was predicted by approval of the idea to delay a family and pursue a career, aspirations of working, and lower educational expectations. Regression analyses of the white teens suggested that teen pregnancy was associated with higher educational wishes, lower educational expectations, desiring more children, and having sex at a younger age. Recommendations for future researchers are to study these races separately when investigating the antecedents of teen pregnancy because there appear to be major differences between the groups. Moreover, practitioners may need to approach prevention with each race differently for preventative efforts to be effective. Additionally, educational expectations appear to be extremely important in the prediction of pregnancy. Thus, the roles of educators and counselors become even more important than before in teens' lives and decision-making.

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Human development and family studies, Human development and family studies (Child development), Child development
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