Thesis Outline - Teenage Pregnancy
I. Overview and Background of Teenage Pregnancy in the United States
a. Statistical and Demographic Profile of Teenage Pregnancy
b. Factors Affecting Teenage Pregnancy
c. Causes of Teenage Pregnancy
d. Problems and Issues of Teenage Pregnancy: Family, School and Community Perspective
e. Implications of Teenage Pregnancy on the social and psychological well-being of the teenager and the kid
II. Sex-Role Learning, Teenage Fatherhood and Teenage Pregnancy
a. Strategies and Coping Strategies of Teenage Mothers and Fathers
b. High School Completion and Educational Attainment
c. Adolescent Mothers and Fathers and the Transition to Parenthood
d. Teenage Mothers,
III. Implications of Teenage Pregnancy
a. Developmental Consequences of Teenage Pregnancy
b. Sexual and Physical Consequences of Teenage Pregnancy
c. Psychological Consequences of Teenage Pregnancy
IV. Teenage Pregnancy Therapy and Intervention Strategies
a. Developmental Intervention for Pregnant Teenagers
b. Application of Previewing Strategies and Therapy to Teenagers
c. The role of the Teenage Father, Parents and grandparents
IV. Recommendations and Conclusion
Sexual activity among teenage girls has become, particularly in the United States, the norm rather than the exception. The consequences of adolescent pregnancy may extend far beyond the birth. Pregnancy during the teenage years almost inevitably results in an interruption of the adolescent's education. Beyond these, however, a host of other issues relate to the ability of the adolescent mother to endure the pregnancy successfully and to properly minister to the child after the birth.
In the last two decades, health professionals working with adolescents have increased their efforts at both designing and implementing interventions aimed at preventing teen pregnancy. Despite their efforts, the rate of teen pregnancy has been rising (Wadhera & Millar, 1997). Concern over such high pregnancy rates has prompted a renewed interest in the development of effective interventions to reduce teen pregnancy. Most programs designed to prevent adolescent pregnancy focus on one of three approaches: sex education, encouraging sexual abstinence, or increasing the availability of contraception (Saltz, Perry, & Cabral, 1994). Programs advocating sexual abstinence also appear to fare poorly. Kirby, Korpi, Barth, and Cagampang (1997) reviewed the Postponing Sexual Involvement Curriculum (PSI), a widely used program in American middle schools that is intended to delay the onset of sexual activity by helping students to identify social pressures that encourage sexual activity and by teaching students specific skills to resist those pressures.
In terms of policy and service delivery for the prevention of teenage pregnancy, it is recommended that interventions be aimed at broader systems rather than the current focus on individuals' knowledge (i.e., the emphasis on sex education). A meta-analysis of pregnancy prevention outcome studies also found that knowledge-based sex education programs were relatively ineffective in delaying sexual initiation and in improving contraceptive rates (Franklin, Grant, Corcoran, O'Dell, & Bultman, 1997).
Since low income has been found to predict pregnancy/parenting status, macro system-level intervention involving educational policy is warranted. Lack of academic inclination or performance may limit employment opportunities and income, and for those who are not academically inclined, alternative programs could be implemented so that they are prepared to earn a living when they graduate from high school. Academic instruction related to vocational training may have more relevance for such students. For example, math skills might be more easily acquired in the context of bookkeeping. Science and math instruction might be integrated into the mechanical trades. Government and business can be enlisted in such efforts.
Educators, parents and the government need to investigate new methods of encouraging adolescents to foresee and understand the long-term educational, economic, and social consequences of teen parenting. For example, information related to teen parenting could be incorporated into the content of other, nonparenting courses: math or economics teachers could assign students the task of estimating the costs associated with the care of an infant; physical education teachers could focus on the importance of pre- and postnatal fitness; and history and sociology teachers could discuss parenting throughout history and changes in attitudes toward teen pregnancy and/or single-parent families.
Franklin, C., Grant, D., Corcoran, J., O'Dell, P., & Buitman, L. (1997). Effectiveness of prevention programs for adolescent pregnancy: Ameta-analysis. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 59, 551-567.
Kirby, D., Korpi, M., Barth, R. P., & Cagampang, H. H. (1997). The impact of the Postponing Sexual Involvement Curriculum among youths in California. Family Planning Perspectives, 29(3), 100-108.
Saltz, E., Perry, A., & Cabral, R. (1994). Attacking the personal fable: Roleplay and its effect on teen attitudes toward sexual abstinence. Youth and Society, 26(2), 223-242.
Wadhera, S., & Millar, W. J. (1997). Health Reports, 9(3), 9-17. Ottawa: Statistics Canada (Cat. No. 82-003-XPB).