This paper is focused on the issue of teen pregnancy. It reveals the most important statistics associated with this problem to emphasize the necessity to pay attention to it. The influence of family and individual context on the occurrence of this situation is discussed so that a range of major predictors of teen pregnancy can be outlined. In addition to that, pregnancy resolution is revealed in the paper. The focus is made on the elements that make girls decide whether they want to have a child, terminate their pregnancy, or consider the possibility of adoption. Moreover, the development of the Internet is described as one of the solutions that reduce teen pregnancy rates.
The Issue of Teen Pregnancy
Teenage pregnancy is believed to be a serious issue that occurs when a girl who is about 13-19 years old turns out to be pregnant. Even though people tend to think that it is good to have a baby, females of this age are not yet ready to become mothers, considering that physical, psychological, and social state. Moreover, girls are more vulnerable to postpartum depression than adult women, which affects their well-being (Kim, Connolly, & Tamim, 2014).
Akella (2016) mentions that the teen pregnancy rates in the US have decreased significantly (by more than 70%) since the 1990s. Nevertheless, they remain higher than in the other countries. In 2012, there were approximately 3,500 births to females aged 10-14 years, 86,500 births to females aged 15-17, and 219,000 births to females aged 18-19 (Akella, 2016). More than 70% of all births in the USA in 2012 were to 18-19-years-old girls, which presupposes that additional interventions are required to prevent teen pregnancy.
The USA is a multicultural country that unites people with different backgrounds. Additional research developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that girls who represent racial and ethnic minorities have higher rates of teenage pregnancy than European Americans. In particular, African American and Hispanic youth are affected. While representing only 35% of all American girls of this age, they contribute to almost 60% of total pregnancies among this population (Akella, 2016). The reasons for this discrepancy are likely to be associated with the problems faced by American minorities. For instance, they are often affected by poverty, poor education, and limited access to healthcare services.
Individual and Family Context
Adolescent pregnancy can be associated with numerous issues that are faced by teenagers. Sámano et al. (2017) reveal that many girls start having sexual relations because they lacked attention from their family. It can be associated with the absence of a parent or with their poor interaction associated with the demanding work, for example. Moreover, those parents who have more than 4 children may find it difficult to pay enough attention to all of them, which leads to early sexual activity. Feeling lonely or suffering from physical or emotional violence, teenagers tend to search for love and positive experiences outside of their families.
Conflictive relationships reveal inefficient social support and contribute to teen pregnancy, as children of this age require additional attention and guidance. They require people with whom they can share their feelings and emotions. Parents’ involvement in sexual education and access to healthcare services also matters because many girls lack associated information, which prevents them from developing healthy relationships with people of the opposite gender.
A predictor of teen pregnancy is the family’s history of pregnancy. Sámano et al. (2017) presuppose that those girls whose relatives had children during adolescence are more likely to have the same event than others. This fact can be associated with the repetition of issues faced by several generations, such as lack of access to healthcare or poor economic condition. It is also possible that in these families, girls develop more positive views towards teen pregnancy and believe that it is normal to have children been very young.
Some adolescent females do not use contraceptives intentionally. Having poor relationships with their relatives, they are willing to create loving families and are waiting to become mothers. Unfortunately, rather often, these fantasies fail to become a reality, and girls start feeling used. As a result, they have to decide whether they want to keep a child or not.
Girls who are going to have children consider different matters when they think about pregnancy resolution. For instance, those teens who have unstable relationships with their boyfriends tend to pay more attention to the piece of advice provided by their families. In the majority of cases, they turn out to be dependent on their relatives, that is why they have no opportunity to make this decision themselves. In fact, the relationship with the father of a baby turns out to have the greatest influence on girls and the most important determinant that affects their desired resolution (Loke & Lam, 2014).
In this way, girls who have stable relationships with their boyfriends and are supported by their families so that they obtain an opportunity to have enough finances for their future tend to create a new family. In other cases, the possibility of termination or adoption often occurs to be more desirable. If girls have someone to support them during pregnancy, they select the second option. However, those teens who have poor relations with their relatives tend to terminate a pregnancy.
It is also important to consider that the development of the high-speed Internet benefited teenage populations, as they received an opportunity to improve their decisions associated with sexual activities and pregnancy (Guldi & Herbst, 2017).
For instance, girls received an opportunity to improve their knowledge of the use of contraception and sexual health. The access to information improved due to the Internet, and teens became able to discuss their romantic relationships with people who had similar experiences without being afraid to be bullied by peers. Moreover, girls have to leave school when they become pregnant because of their health condition and the necessity to take care of a child. Due to the development of the Internet, the possibility of online education became possible, which provided girls with an additional opportunity to graduate and be able to find a well-paid job.
Thus, it can be stated that teen pregnancy is usually faced by girls who represent American minorities and have similar experiences in the previous generations or poor relations with their families. Depending on the obtained support, these future mothers make their decision to have a child, terminate a pregnancy, or consider the possibility of adoption. Even though with the development of the Internet, the rates of teen pregnancy decreased significantly due to the possibility to obtain more information related to the topic and discuss associated problems with others, additional interventions are still required.
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Guldi, M., & Herbst, C. (2017). Offline effects of online connecting: The impact of broadband diffusion on teen fertility decisions. Journal of Population Economics, 30(1), 69-91.
Kim, T., Connolly, J., & Tamim, H. (2014). The effect of social support around pregnancy on postpartum depression among Canadian teen mothers and adult mothers in the maternity experiences survey. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 14(1), 162-181.
Loke, A., & Lam, P. (2014). Pregnancy resolutions among pregnant teens: Termination, parenting or adoption? BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 14(1), 421-450.
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