For many years, pregnancy among adolescents has been prevalent and has been heavily discussed among many different groups of people. These groups range from those who do not see a problem with teenage pregnancy to those who do see a problem with it. In recent years, teenage pregnancy has become what is known is as a crisis. This is due to the fact that
The Causes of Teenage Pregnancy
A cause of something is a person or thing that gives rise to an action and/or produces a result or effect. When analyzing teenage pregnancy, there must be a clear understanding as to why this result occurs; what is the cause behind this phenomenon? Studies show that there are a plethora of causes of teenage pregnancies. For example, family structure is considered one of the prime causes of teenage pregnancies (Domenico & Jones, 2007). Family structure if defined as a familial support system in which two parents or legal guardians come together to provide financial, mental, and physical stability for the child that they are caring for. Research shows that an increasing amount of adolescent females live in an unstable household and/or familial situation; this causes many of them to become sexually active for a short-lived feeling of love and comfort, something that they do not receive from their parents or legal guardians (Domenico & Jones, 2007; Rosen, 1997). In a study conducted by Mona McCullough and Avraham Scherman, it was exposed that the rates of teenage pregnancy were much higher in female adolescents who experience parental rejection along with a lack of warm and affection. They tend to seek outside relationships to boost their self-esteem (Domenico & Jones, 2007; McCullough & Scherman, 1991).
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Another cause of pregnancy within female adolescents is sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is defined as unwanted sexual activity that involves the aggressor using force and making threats against the aggresse who is unable to and/or does not want to give consent. Consent is the action of a person giving full permission to engage in sexual activity with the other participant. There are many different types of sexual abuse; fondling, anal sex, oral sex, pornography, inappropriate touching of the sexual organs, and intercourse (Hyde & Forsyth, 1997). Researchers suggest that sexual abuse could possibly alter perceptions about sexual behavior. If a female adolescent undergoes abuse, it causes them to initiate sexual intercourse and indulge in the act at a much younger age; it also causes them to get involved with more than one sexual partner (Domenico & Jones, 2007; McCullough & Scherman, 1991). For example, conducted research found that 40% of female adolescents who underwent sexual abuse had intercourse as early as the ages of 13 and 14. When interviewed, these girls exposed the fact that at some point in their childhood, they experienced “unwanted and involuntary intercourse with a person who was much older than them” (Domenico & Jones, 2007; Farber, 2003). In addition, a study reported that female adolescents who were sexually abused as young children were “three times more likely to become pregnant as a teenager”. It was also exposed that these sexually abused adolescents became pregnant at a much younger age (Domenico & Jones, 2007; Herman-Giddens et al., 1998).
Teenage Pregnancy Causes Consequences
Sexual Education and Its Influence on the Prevention of Teenage Pregnancy
To prevent something is to stop something from existing or occurring. Further, a method is a process put in place to achieve or obtain something. When discussing teenage pregnancy, it is always best to figure out not only why teenage pregnancies are common, but it is also best to figure out ways in which these pregnancies can be prevented; especially amongst high school students. Sexual education is the teaching of a range of topics about human sexuality; these topics range from human intimacy to human anatomy regarding the reproductive system. While exploring prevention methods, studies and researchers have found that implementing sexual education within the school system is one of the many effective ways to prevent pregnancies amongst those below the age of twenty; especially if the implementation of this course starts as early as kindergarten and remains in effect as late as the 12th grade. This method proves to be much more effective when taught in the early stages of a child’s life due to the fact that these students begin initiating sexual intercourse at very early ages. 6.2 percent of students nationwide express the fact that they had sex before the age of 13, 43.8 percent report becoming intimate before reaching the tenth grade, and 63.1 percent report having sex before reaching the 12th grade (Planned Parenthood, 2013). Research proves that the most successful programs, regarding sexual education and preventing teenage pregnancies, tend to target audiences full of younger people who have not even explored sexual intimacy and have not become experienced with the topic (Planned Parenthood, 2013). Conducted research proves that sexual intercourse amongst teenagers who have not received some form of sexual education is over 50 percent higher than those who have received sexual education (Furstenberg, Moore, & Peterson, 1985).
- Domenico, D. M., & Jones, K. H. (2007). Adolescent Pregnancy in America: Causes and Responses. The Journal for Vocational Special Needs Education, 4-12.
- Furstenberg, F. F., Moore A, K., & Peterson, J. L. (1985). Sex Education and Sexual Experience among Adolescents. 1985 American Journal of Public Health, 1331-1332.
- Hyde, M. O. (1997). Chapter 1: A New Look at an Old Secret. In M. O. Hyde, The Sexual Abuse of Children and Adolescents (pp. 9-10). Brookfield: The Millbrook Press.
- Planned Parenthood Federation of America, I. (2013, July). Reducing Teenage Pregnancy. Retrieved from Planned Parenthood Care. No Matter What: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/files/6813/9611/7632/Reducing_Teen_Pregnancy.pdf
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