Teenage Childbearing as a Public Issue and Private Concern.

Annu. Rev. Sociol 01/2003; 29:23-39.

ABSTRACT Key Words family change, public policy s Abstract Teenage childbearing has been a topic of sociological research, public discourse, and political discussion since the mid-1960s. It is surprising that the intensity and topics of the discussion over this period have corresponded poorly with research on the rates and consequences of teenage childbearing. This essay chronicles the history of the issue of early childbearing and my contributions to this field of study.

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    ABSTRACT: Adolescent pregnancy is often described as a major concern in public health and is associated with negative outcomes for educational and career attainment. Our objective was to compare the future aspirations of pregnant and parenting adolescents and identify social or structural barriers that they experience in their daily lives using journal entries from pregnant and parenting adolescents. The journals, which served as primary data sources, were completed by 52 multi-ethnic pregnant and parenting adolescents aged 15 to 19 in Indiana. Both pregnant and parenting adolescents aspired to provide a “better life” for their children that included finishing school and obtaining a career. An emergent theme is that the experience of pregnancy and parenting is transformative and may invoke a positive refocusing of life aspirations for educational and career attainment. However, social stigma and barriers exist that make achieving educational and employment opportunities difficult. The study findings indicate that pregnant and parenting adolescents need strong social support networks and practical tools to help harness their motivation and transcend social and material barriers to achieve their goals and aspirations.
    SAGE Open 02/2015; 5(1).
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    ABSTRACT: Background. Offspring of teenage mothers are at greater risk of early drug use. Research has identified a child behavior checklist (CBCL) profile for children with high levels of comorbid behavior problems, the dysregulation profile (DP), as another risk factor for drug use. Method. Teenage girls (12–18 years old; 71% African-American, 29% White) were recruited during pregnancy. Data were collected during pregnancy and when offspring were 6, 10, and 14 years old ( 𝑛 = 3 1 8 ). Mothers completed the CBCL when children were at ages 6 and 10, and children who scored 60 or higher on all 3 DP subscales (aggression, anxiety/depression, and attention problems) were categorized as dysregulated. At ages 10 and 14, the offspring (50% male, 50% female) reported on their cannabis use and completed the childhood depression inventory (CDI). Results. DP at age 6 and depressive symptoms at age 14 predicted recent cannabis use in the offspring. There was a significant interaction between race and pubertal timing such that White offspring who matured earlier were at greater risk of recent cannabis use. Conclusions. The results of this study suggest that it may be possible to identify a subset of children at risk of dual diagnosis as early as age 6.
    ISRN Addiction. 11/2012; 2013.
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    ABSTRACT: Researchers seeking to understand teen sexual behaviors often turn to age norms, but they are difficult to measure quantitatively. Previous work has usually inferred norms from behavioral patterns or measured group-level norms at the individual level, ignoring multiple reference groups. Capitalizing on the multilevel design of the Add Health survey, we measure teen pregnancy norms perceived by teenagers, as well as average norms at the school and peer network levels. School norms predict boys’ perceived norms, while peer network norms predict girls’ perceived norms. Peer network and individually perceived norms against teen pregnancy independently and negatively predict teens’ likelihood of sexual intercourse. Perceived norms against pregnancy predict increased likelihood of contraception among sexually experienced girls, but sexually experienced boys’ contraceptive behavior is more complicated: When both the boy and his peers or school have stronger norms against teen pregnancy he is more likely to contracept, and in the absence of school or peer norms against pregnancy, boys who are embarrassed are less likely to contracept. We conclude that: (1) patterns of behavior cannot adequately operationalize teen pregnancy norms, (2) norms are not simply linked to behaviors through individual perceptions, and (3) norms at different levels can operate independently of each other, interactively, or in opposition. This evidence creates space for conceptualizations of agency, conflict, and change that can lead to progress in understanding age norms and sexual behaviors
    Advances in Life Course Research 06/2014; · 1.35 Impact Factor


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