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A sociological look at adolescent pregnancy

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Title:
A sociological look at adolescent pregnancy
Creator:
Ojeda, Karla Gissella
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English
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i, 18 leaves : ; 28 cm

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Subjects / Keywords:
Teenage pregnancy ( lcsh )
Teenage pregnancy ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaf 18).
General Note:
Department of Sociology
Statement of Responsibility:
by Karla Gissella Ojeda.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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|Auraria Library
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Resource Identifier:
75390591 ( OCLC )
ocm75390591
Classification:
LD1193.L66 2006m O53 ( lcc )

Full Text
A Sociological Look at Adolescent Pregnancy
by
Karla Gissella Ojeda
B.A. in Sociology University of Colorado at Denver, May 2002
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver/Health Sciences Center
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Masters of Sociology
Sociology
2006


2006 by Karla Gissella Ojeda
All rights reserved.


This thesis for the Masters in Sociology
degree by
Karla Gissella Ojeda
has been approved
by
Andrea Haar
U 9-00 U
Date


Ojeda, Karla, G. (Masters of Sociology)
A SOCIOLOGICAL LOOK AT ADOLESCENT PREGNANCY
Thesis directed by Chair of the Sociology Department Candan Duran Aytindug
ABSTRACT
This thesis takes an in depth sociological look at adolescent pregnancy among middle to
lower class minority families. Included in this in depth look are, why adolescents engage in
sexual activities at such a young age, prevention programs that exists and that could be
implemented in todays society and why repeat pregnancies occur among adolescents.
The following three theories are used to help support what was found among the published
literature used in this thesis. The first one is the Social Development Model, the second
one is the Social Learning Theory and the last one is the Problem Behavior Theory. The
majority of the articles points towards the Problem Behavior Theory in helping to explain
why adolescents become pregnant.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I recommend its
publication.
Signed.


DEDICATION PAGE
I would like to take this opportunity to thank some very special people in my life who have
helped me and supported me throughout this journey of mine and have been a huge part
of my success in accomplishing the things that I have. The first set of people I would like
to dedicated this thesis to and thank them tremendously are my parents. Without their
unending support throughout all my years of schooling I would have never been able to
achieve such a high educational level. I would also like to thank my husband who
sacrificed a lot to see me get to where I am today and who never stopped believing in me
even when I had stopped believing in myself. And to the rest of my family including my
brother and sister and my daughter, Jade, you each helped me in your own special way
and for that I would like to thank you and tell you all that I love you all very much!


ACKNOWLEDGMENT
I would like to thank two very wonderful teachers in helping me put together this thesis.
The first one being Candan who in the midst of her very busy and hectic life always has
time for her students and helps them in whatever way she possible can. I know that
reading rough drafts at three in the morning is not your first choice of things to do but I
appreciate the help that you gave me and the support you have shown in all the years that
I have known you. I would also like to thank Andrea who always had an answer to my
questions no matter how silly they may have been and who helped me realize the
important things in life when I became overly stressed about writing this thesis!


TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER
1. THEORETICAL DISCUSSION..............................1
2. LITERATURE REVIEW...................................2
3. METHODS............................................10
4. RESULTS........................................... 11
5. CONCLUSION........................................ 16
BIBLIOGRAPHY ..............................................1
i


CHAPTER 1
THEORETICAL DISCUSSION
In doing the research for this paper I came across a number of different theories that were
mentioned as to why adolescents engage in sexual activities at a young age, which then
results in pregnancy. Some of the theories mentioned in other journal articles were the
Social Development Model, Social Control Theory, Social Learning Theory and Problem
Behavior Theory to name just a few. The Social Development Model says that it is an
integration between the Social Control Theory and the Social Learning Theory consisting of
an attachment to others (a social bond) and a commitment to conventional values and
behaviors In addition to that it also inhibits adolescent problem behaviors, which are
associated with antisocial peers, rewards for deviance, and norms that are favorable to
deviance which promote problem behaviors (Gilimore, p. 538). According to this model,
young women with strong social bonds to conventional institutions like their families, school
or church will be less likely to experience a pregnancy when compared to their cohorts with
weaker social bonds (Gilimore, p. 538).
The second theory mentioned that I will touch upon briefly is the Social Learning Theory.
This theory makes two assumptions within itself. The first one being that people can learn
in the absence of reinforcement and the second assumption being that the expectancies
are a critical part of what is learned (Brown, p. 44). An example of this theory applied to
everyday life would be if we see a person stealing and get punished for it then we would
expect to be punished if we were to get caught stealing. An example of this applied to
adolescent pregnancy might go as follows: if we know that our friends are engaging in
sexual activities at a young age and they end up pregnant as a result of this then we might
1


make the assumption that if we were to engage in sexual activities ourselves that we too
may end up pregnant.
The last theory that I will make mention of and have chosen to use in this paper is the
Problem Behavior Theory. This theory suggests that adolescent problem behaviors such
as early sexual debut teenage pregnancy, school problems, delinquency and drug use are
related because they are all manifestations of a common underlying factor a syndrome of
problem behaviors (Gillmore, p. 537). Therefore if we can get to the source of what is
causing the behavior we can hopefully begin to solve this problem that we face in America
of adolescent pregnancies.
CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW
Adolescent pregnancy has long been studied and short term solutions as to how to solve
this problem have emerged from the research that has been done regarding this topic. This
is a problem not only in the United States but in other parts of the world as well but is
studied more in the United States therefore making it appear as more of an epidemic here
than anywhere else (Ventura, p.1). This is why I have chosen to write my thesis paper on
this topic because I think that it is a topic that stiH needs to be looked at with great concern
so that one day we might be able to find a more permanent solution. When discussing the
topic of adolescent pregnancy I have broken down the topic into three different categories
to help us better understand it. Included in this paper will be why teenagers engage in
2


sexual activities at an early age; prevention programs that could be implemented to help
prevent teenage pregnancy and why repeat pregnancies happen. If we as a society would
be more willing to answer some of these questions when it comes to teenage pregnancy
instead of just complaining about it or blaming the girls themselves, then we would be on
the right track to solving the problem. I will first discuss why teenagers engage in sexual
activities at such a young age.
About three years ago I volunteered as a bilingual counselor at a youth pregnancy center
and although I have always had a passion for this particular topic and helping these girls
out, nothing could have ever prepared me tor my first encounter with a young girl who had
just found out that she was pregnant I had been through the training and had read the
material that had been given to me as to what was appropriate to say in each of the
scenarios when we were faced with them, but there is nothing in the world that can prepare
you enough to tell a twelve year old that her pregnancy test has just come back positive 11
will never forget the look of fear that she had in her eyes and the desperation that I felt not
only for myself but for this young girl and this unexpected'' child that she was now
carrying. After the initial shock wore off for both of us I began not only to console her but
also to counsel her as to what her options were and how the center would be there for her
needs as well as the babies needs if she chose to continue the pregnancy This scenario
played itself out a number of times with girls that were both older and younger than her and
it seemed to get easier for me to deal with each of the situations and find out why these
girts were doing what they were doing.
During my time at the pregnancy center I learned a lot from these girts that I probably
would have never teamed had I not volunteered as a counselor I learned what their needs
were and why they were engaging in the behaviors that put them in their current situations.
Many of the girls that came to the center for a pregnancy test did so because the test was
3


free along with the counseling that was provided to them. Many of these girls came from
low income families and often times were concerned about how they were going to be
able to provide the necessary medical care for their baby. What did catch me by surprise
though was that they were not as concerned for their own health while they were pregnant
with the baby but that more of their concern lied with the baby after delivery. According to
an article that I found from the Family Planning Perspectives Journal called A Free
Pregnancy Testing Service girls are more likely to be seen in some type of clinic when
they know that there are free services available to them. The article goes on to say that by
offering a free pregnancy test it has increased the amount of patients that they see in the
health clinics in New York by 30% (Daily, p.6). When you stop and think about the number
of teenage pregnancies that occur each year the fact that the number of patients that have
been seen at these clinics has increased by 30% speaks volumes about the help that
these girts need and are not receiving (Daily, p.6)! If there were more clinics or programs
that offered not only a free pregnancy test but also die counseling to go along with it, we
would eventually see a decline in the number of teenage pregnancies that occur each year.
According to an article published by the Center for Disease Control the teenage pregnancy
rate dropped by 27% during 1990 2000, reaching a historic low of 84.5 pregnancies per
1,000 women between the ages of 15 to 19 years (Ventura, p.1). Now in addition to the
free pregnancy test that we offered at the center we also had counseling available to these
girls and during my time there I started to notice a slight pattern as to why these girls were
engaging in sexual activities at what I would consider a young age.
Some of the reasons that I heard repeatedly as to why girls were engaging in sexual
activities at a young were because their friends were doing it, they felt pressured by their
boyfriend to do it, for attention from other people regardless of whether it was positive or
negative and lastly the notorious I dont know why I did it! It is sad that kids that are so
4


young are using the above named reasons as to why they are engaging in such
behaviors and risking so much in the process.
According to the literature as to why teens are practicing sex at young ages coincides with
some of the reasons that are listed above. The Problem Behavior Theory suggests that
adolescent problem behaviors such as early sexual debut, teenage pregnancy, school
problems, delinquency and drug use are related because they are all manifestation of a
common underlying factor a syndrome of problem behaviors (Gillmore, p. 537). When
implementing this particular theory towards teenage pregnancy it may help us in
understanding why teens engage in sex. According to one study that I found in the Journal
of Marriage and the Family; teens are more likely to engage in sexual activities if their best
friend has ever been pregnant, the length of time with their boyfriend, a history of school
troubles and fighting in school (Gillmore, p.545). This helps to explain not only why teens
have sex at a young age but it also helps support the Problem Behavior Theory when
applied to teenage pregnancy. If teens are already participating in what we consider
problem behaviors like fighting, ditching school and using drugs then it is not a surprise
that they are participating in risky behaviors like sex. In their minds this type of behavior
does not seem risky but instead is justified by the other problem behaviors that they are
already displaying it is to be expected of them. In addition to the Problem Behavior
Theory there is other literature that is used in explaining why teens engage in sex at an
early age. Some of the other theories that are used to explain this phenomenon are
Deviant Control Theory, Control Theory and Differential Association Theory. According to
the Deviant Behavior Theory teen sex should be regarded as a risk taking behavior and
is a deviant act (Little, p.705). The Control Theory states that the reasons for the
conforming behavior are to be found in the bonds the individual establishes with the
conventional order, including parents and their values. When there is evidence that a
5


youngsters bonds to the conventional order are weak, control theory predicts a greater
likelihood of deviance (Little, p.706). The last theory mentioned in helping to explain early
teenage sex is the Differential Association Theory which focuses on the role of peer
influence both those favorable to delinquent activity and those that inhibit it as the
primary variables to explain the youthful deviance probability (Little, p.706). Any one of the
above mentioned theories can easily be applied to why teens are having sex and can
therefore hopefully help us to better understand why teens are doing it Teens are
engaging in sexual activities as early as eleven and twelve years of age which to me is
scary and even though we may not want to face this problem at such a young age it is one
that needs to be dealt with in order to prevent teen pregnancy. There are four common
underlying reasons as to why teens initiate sexual activities. These four reasons are the
use of marijuana, ever having been drunk, having a boyfriend or girlfriend and how their
mother would feel about them having sex and/or how their friends would feel about them
having sex (Little, p.715). The decision to have sex may be a big one for some teens to
make and even though we may not agree with them having sex there are differences
between the two genders as to what is influencing them to have sex. The variables that are
influencing boys to have sex are the estimate of friends having sex, their socioeconomic
status, how their mother would feel about them having sex, whether both natural parents
are still in the home and ever having used marijuana (Little, p.718). For girls these
variables vary just a bit in making their decision to have sex. They are influenced by how
their friends would feel about them having sex, if they have ever used marijuana and
having a boyfriend (Little, p.718). In the end though the decision is ultimately up to them
and they must pay the consequences of this decision whether it is pregnancy or a sexually
transmitted disease. In the next part of this paper I will discuss why teens that do become
pregnant are more likely to have a repeated pregnancy at their age.
6


Their have been countless articles written regarding teen pregnancy and why this is such a
big problem in the United States. On the other hand though there has not been as much
research done on why teens that are having sex and becoming pregnant are more likely to
become pregnant again in a short amount of time. One of the articles that I was able to find
regarding this topic came from the Journal of Marriage and the Family and the authors of
this study discovered that the following variables play a role in repeat pregnancies among
adolescents. It is broken down into two different categories, the first one being proximate
determinants and the second one being distal determinants. The proximate determinants
included contraceptive use, frequency of intercourse and breast feeding while the distal
determinants are ones that are expected to affect a repeat pregnancy indirectly (friends,
family etc ). In the end those teens that had already experienced a pregnancy and used
contraceptives correctly were less likely to experience a repeated pregnancy within the
next 18 to 24 months when compared to teens that chose not to use contraceptives or
engage in sex more frequently (Gillmore, p.543). As for distal determinants the study found
that the following all influence repeat pregnancies among adolescents a history of school
problems, drug use, longer relationship with boyfriends, best friends becoming pregnant
and minor delinquencies (Gillmore, p.544). The distal determinants are also consistent in
supporting the Problem Behavior Theory in the sense that these determinants are also a
cover up for an underlying manifestation of problems in which pregnancy is the end result.
Now that we have taken a look at why teens are engaging in sexual activities and why
repeat pregnancies are happening among them lets take a look at some of the prevention
programs that are out there and the role that they play within teenage pregnancy.
Besides Sex Education classes that are still taught in some Health classes among Middle
School and High School students there are prevention programs that can be found within
the communities where these adolescents live whose primary goal is redudng/preventing
7


teenage pregnancy. These prevention programs can be found in health clinics, schools
and among the community and can usually be categorized into one of four programs -
Abstinence Only Based Programs, School Based Clinics with Family Planning Services,
Multidimensional Programs and Theory Based Programs. I will touch upon each one of
these briefly and explain their role in helping to prevent adolescent pregnancy.
The first type of prevention program that exists within communities is an Abstinence Only
Based Program. The main focus of this prevention program is the importance of abstaining
from sexual intercourse (Christopher, p.385). The designers of this type of program admit
that they purposefully leave out any material regarding abortion and contraceptive use
because they feel as though this information may confuse young adolescents when the
material is presented to them. I find this decision to leave this information out of the
educational material interesting since one would think that by telling young adolescents all
of their options it would help them in making a more informed decision but at the same time
I can see why they chose to leave it out since teens may see this as a good option as a
way of either having sex and using contraceptives or if they end up pregnant having an
abortion. The next prevention program that exists is School Based Clinics with Family
Planning Services.
These types of programs do offer adolescents' contraceptive services either right there on
school grounds or by referral (Christopher, p.385). Most of these clinics are located in
schools that serve low income families and most of them were also in schools that were
dominated by minorities. An interesting point that I would like to bring up, regarding this
type of prevention program, is that among the articles that I read for this paper not one of
them mentioned this type of prevention program in predominately White middle to upper
class neighborhoods but instead were found in middle to low income neighborhoods
were the majority of the population is not White. The developers of these school based
8


clinics believe that in providing contraceptives to adolescents in addition to educating them
on what could happen if they engage in sexual activities that they are helping them to
make an informed decision regarding their bodies (Christopher, p.386). The next type of
prevention program is a Multidimensional Program.
The main focus of the multidimensional prevention program is to intervene in an
adolescents life as frequently as possible in an attempt to lower the number of
pregnancies (Christopher, p.387). This type of program offers services such as group
discussions during the middle of the day in the schools health suites, school counseling
and clinic referrals, formal and informal group education at the clinic, dinic counseling and
referrals. Even though some of the services mentioned above are school based they can
easily also be offered in private run prevention programs as well. With all of the
intervention that takes place between the adolescent and the counselor this type of
program has been very successful at delaying the onset of sexual intercourse and at
lowering the pregnancy rate (Christopher, p.388). The last type of prevention program that
still exists in some communities is Theory Based Programs.
Although mentioned very briefly in the literature, this type of prevention program believes in
applying theory to real life situations in the hopes of preventing teenage pregnancy
(Christopher, p.387). Some of the theories that they use include; Cognitive Behavior
Theory, Sodal Learning Theory and Inoculation Theory. I find this type of prevention
Program a little bit outdated for the type of society that we live in considering all of the
resources that are available to us. If this type of program was used in combination with the
Multidimensional Prevention Programs that exist it would be much more effective in
helping to prevent teenage pregnancy.
I think that when teens use these types of programs effectively and take them serious
instead of just seeing them as a Tree service being offered to them that they have the
9


potential to gain a lot of knowledge from them. According to an article from the Family
Relations Journal called Effectiveness of a Family Support Center Approach to Adolescent
Mothers: Repeat Pregnancy and School Drop Out Rates by Richard Solomon, regarding
adolescent pregnancy and school drop out rates, teens who have a strong support system
and who have already experienced a pregnancy, are less likely to have a repeated
pregnancy and are more likely to stay in school when compared to their peers who have
been in the same situation as them and do not have a strong support system (Solomon,
p.142). I think that this statement speaks volumes about the importance of prevention
programs within communities!
Teenage pregnancy is still a problem in our society as well as many other societies around
the world but with the right tools we can help in preventing teenage pregnancy in the
future. There will always be someones child that makes a bad decision and ends up
pregnant at a young age but instead of punishing this individual I think that we should be
offering her the type of help that she needs so that the unborn child does not pay the price
of their parents decision.
Chapter 3
METHODS
Secondary hand data from The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (ADD
Health) were used in this paper. The original data was collected between September 1994
and December 1995 using in school questionnaires that were handed out to students in
grades 7-12. These questionnaires included questions regarding social and
demographic characteristics of the respondents, the education and occupation of parents,
10


household structure, risk behaviors, expectations for the future, self esteem, health
status, friendships, and school year extracurricular activities. In addition to the in -
school questionnaires students also participated in lengthy and detailed in home
interviews along with their parents. More than 90,000 students participated and completed
the in school questionnaires while a sample of 12,105 adolescents completed the in -
home interviews.
After all of the interviews and questionnaires were completed by both students and parents
there were 6,504 cases used in this study along with 5,800 different variables. For the
purposes of this paper I have drawn out a much smaller sample of only 236 girls who have
admitted to being pregnant at least once before and have selected variables from within
the original study to run statistics on. I have grouped together the variables that I have
chosen to use into five different categories which include race of both the female and her
partner, where they received medical treatment where they received counseling services,
sex related questions included birth control use and how mother feels about the adolescent
being sexually active and school related questions including what grade they are in and
school problems they may have encountered. I used the program SPSS to run descriptive
statistics on the variables that I have included in this paper.
Chapter 4
RESULTS
The following are the results that I got after running the statistics on the variables that I
have chosen to use. As for the variable race the females in this study had five different
categories to choose from White, Black, Asian, American Indian and Other. The following
is a breakdown of it 46.8 % of them were White, 41.1 % of them were Black, 5.0% were
11


Asian, 5.7% were American Indian and 7.1% marked Other. The race of their partners
included Hispanic/Latino, White, African American, American Indian, Asian and Other. The
following is a breakdown of the partners race. 11.5% were Hispanic/Latino, 49.6% were
White, 38.9% were African American, 3.1% were American Indian, 5.8% were Asian and
6.2% marked Other race. As you can see the majority of the participants in this study are
White females followed by African American. The same holds true for their partners. It is
interesting to see that Hispanic/Latino was not an option to choose from for the females
race but it was for her partner.
Note: When adding the percentages up for both the female and her partner they both total
more than 100%.
The girls were asked where they received a physical to determine that they were pregnant
along with receiving medical treatment and the following are the results for this particular
variable. The choices were as follows private doctor, health dinic, school, hospital and
other. More than half of the girls were seen by a private doctor (56.9%) followed by a
health dinic (32.0%), then a hospital (17.1%), then Other (2.8%) and lastly school
(1.7%).The next variable that I am going to discuss is where they received counseling.
After finding out that they were pregnant the girls were offered counseling in one of five
different settings. Their choices induded private doctor, health dinic, school, hospital and
other location. Unlike where they received medical treatment many of these girls received
counseling within their respective schools (31.3%), followed by private doctor (27.1%) and
then a health dinic (25.0%). The remainder of the girls either received counseling in a
location other than the ones offered above (20.8%) or they received counseling in a
hospital type setting (18.8%). Within the paper I mentioned the importance of having
12


prevention programs available to these girls within the communities that they live in so that
they are able to receive the help that they need and this particular variable helps to
demonstrate just that, since one third of the girls that participated in the study chose to
receive counseling for their pregnancy within the school that they attended. If there were
prevention programs offered in these communities in addition to the counseling that is
offered to the girls once they are already pregnant we may in time see a decline in the
number of pregnant girts receiving counseling and an increase in the number of girts that
are participating in the prevention programs. The next set of variables that I am going to
discuss are all school related including not only the grade of the female but also her
partner and any school trouble that she may have encountered.
The grade these students are in ranged from seventh to twelfth grade. The following is a
breakdown of the percentages of the females in each of the respective grades. The
majority of the females were in the twelfth grade (38.7%), followed by 23.4% in the
eleventh grade, 14.6% in the tenth grade, 12.4% in the ninth grade, 7.3% in the eighth
grade and 3.6% in the seventh grade. The education level of their partners that they were
sexually active with was broken down a little bit differently than the females but none the
less was still asked about. Many of the boys had at least a High School education (39.8%)
although 16.7% had more than an eighth grade education but had not finished High
School. Some of the girls were sexually active with men much older than them since
13.9% had graduated from college/university and at least 12.0% of the men had attended
college but had not received a degree. The rest of these men fit into the spectrum
somewhere along the line with 5.6% of them having less than an eighth grade education
level and 2.8% of the having professional training beyond college. These statistics help us
to better understand not only the percentage of females in each of the grade levels
13


mentioned above but also the education level of their partners. It seems as though
finishing High School is important for the majority of the boys who are sexually active with
the females in this study. In addition to the education level of the females in the study I
was also able to find statistics on whether or not they were currently in school and if they
were not in school the reasons why they were not in school.
Eighty nine percent of the females were currently in school while the other eleven percent
was not. This statistic is an interesting one since one would most likely expect many of
these females to have dropped out of school under the circumstances (being pregnant or
being a mother) I guess that it just goes to show us that even under the toughest of
circumstances getting a good education is still important to them. In addition to this
information I was also able to find some statistics on the reasons why some of the girls that
participated in the study are not in school. A little over one third of the girls (34.6%) had
been expelled from school while 23.1% were either sick or injured (it did not specify what
type of sickness or injury), 19.2% of them were on some type of leave while 11.5% had
been suspended from school. The remainder of the girts had either graduated from school
(7.7%) or had dropped out (3.8%). Although it does not give the reason as to why these
girls had either been suspended or expelled from school the fact that they had gotten into
trouble goes right along with what the Problem Behavior Theory states that they will have
problems in school if they are sexually active at a young age since it goes against the
societys norms and is considered a delinquent behavior. The last set of statistics that I
have gathered pertains to the topic of sex itself and asks questions pertaining to
contraceptive use, whether drugs were involved when they had sexual intercourse and
how their parents feel about them having sex.
14


The first set of statistics that I am going to discuss has to do with whether or not these girls
used birth control not only the first time that they had sexual intercourse but also if they
used birth control the last time that they had sex. In addition to this I will also discuss the
primary type of birth control that they are using currently. More than half (57.3%) of the
females in the study used birth control the first time that they had sex while only 48.3% of
these same females used birth control the last time that they had sexual intercourse. It
seems as though many of these girls are trying to be responsible about the decision to be
sexually active. Earlier in the paper I discussed the importance of the girls using or at least
having some type of birth control available to them so that repeat pregnancies would not
occur, I think that many of these girls are on the right track to either not getting pregnant at
all since more that half of them used some type of birth control the first time they had sex
and nearly half of them used it the last time that they had sex. It seems as though using
either a condom (44.0%) or birth control pills (38.7%) are the two most popular methods of
primary birth control methods among the girls. The rest of them either use Norplant
(1.2%), Depo Provera (13.1%), Contraceptive film (.6%) or some other method (2.4%) of
birth control. The next set of statistics that I am going to discuss is whether or not they
used drugs the first time that they had sex. As you will recall there are four underlying
reasons as to why teens initiate sexual activities in the first place. The four reasons are
marijuana use, ever having been drunk, whether or not they have a boyfriend/girlfriend and
lastly how their mother and or their friends would feel about them having sexual
intercourse.
The girls were asked whether or not they had been drinking the first time that they had sex,
whether or not they were drunk the first time that they had sex and lastly if there were any
drugs involved the first time that they had sex. The following are the results of these
15


questions only 10.1% of the girls admitted to drinking the first time that they had sex
while more than half (58.8%) said that they were drunk the first time that they had sex. As
for any drug use the first time that they had sex only 9.2% of the girls stated that they had
used some type of drug the first time that they had sex. As I had mentioned earlier both
drug use and alcohol use are two of the four common reasons that teens engage in sexual
activities and it is shown here that these girls were more influenced by alcohol than drugs
but nonetheless were still influenced by these reasons. It was interesting to find out that
when asked how their mom and dad would feel about them having sex more than half of
them (50.5%) stated that dad would strongly disapprove while nearly one third of the girls
believed that mom would either strongly disapprove (32.8%) or neither disapprove nor
approve (34.4%). Maybe instead of their decision being influenced by what mom thinks it
is more influenced by what dad thinks. Again though, it is still one of the four common
reasons that teens engage in sexual activities and should be researched more in depth.
Chapter 5
CONCLUSION
Adolescent pregnancy is always going to exist because teens are going to be teens and
experiment with their bodies whether their parents approve of it or not Hopefully I have
helped you gain some insight into why teens engage in sexually activities to begin with,
16


marijuana use, having been drunk, whether or not they have a boyfriend/girtfriend and how
their mother and or friends would feel about them having sex and some of the things that
we as a society can do to prevent adolescent pregnancy, such as implementing the
prevention programs that were mentioned into our communities, so that teens have
access to the resources that they may need in order to help them make a more educated
decision when it comes to having sex instead of finding out the hard way.
I mentioned a variety of theories that could help in explaining why teens engage in sexual
activities to begin with like Social Learning Theory, Social Development Model, Social
Control Theory and Problem Behavior Theory and still believe that Problem Behavior
Theory does the best job in helping to explain the phenomenon. If we as a society can
figure out the source of the problems that these teens are experiencing which is causing
them to engage in a delinquent behavior like sex then we are on the right track to solving
the problem of adolescent pregnancy in our society!
17


BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. ) Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention F. Scott Christopher; Family Relations, Vol.
44, No. 4, October 1995, p. 384 391
2. ) A Free Pregnancy Testing Service; Edwin F. Daily; Nick Nicholas; Family
Planning Perspectives, Winter 1973 Vol.5, No. 1 p. 6
3. ) Effectiveness of a Family Support Center Approach to Adolescent Mothers:
Repeat Pregnancy and School Drop Out Rates; Richard Solomon; Cynthia Pierce
Liefeld; Family Relations, Vol. 47, No. 2 April 1998, p. 139-144
4. ) Repeat Pregnancies among Adolescent Mothers; Mary Rogers Gillmore et. All;
Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 59, No. 3, August 1997, p. 536 550.
5. ) Why Do They Start It? Explaining Reported Early Teen Sexual Activity;
Sociological Forum, Vol. 16, No. 4, December 2001, p. 703-729
6. ) Estimated Pregnancy Rates for the United States, 1990 2000: An Update;
Stephanie J. Ventura et. All; Vol. 52, No. 23, June 2004, p.1 -10
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