Factors That Influence Teen Pregnancy

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The issue of how to prevent teenage pregnancy revolves around what factors are identified as the causative influences. Some researchers regard prevention programs, regardless of how well thought out and implemented, as doomed, because the issue of teenage pregnancy involves the social whole. Males (1993), for example, thinks that current programs of all sorts, will not succeed because of a discrepancy between reality and strategies for prevention. In a similar vein, Davis (1989), argues that since teenage pregnancy is covered under a broad social blanket, it needs to be handled at that level. Further, as Furstenberg (1991:136) notes, the epidemic of teenage pregnancy will not go away unless we are willing to "resolve conflicting cultural and political tendencies toward sexuality." He makes a good point by arguing that the factors which stigmatized early childbearing, or out of wedlock childbirth, have virtually vanished and it is this lack of stigmatization which has resulted in an increase in teenage sexuality and pregnancies. However, since holistic solutions are less likely to be implemented we can only hope to deal with the symptoms of teenage pregnancy, i.e. births to teenagers.These symptoms can be prevented by intervention at any of the four following intervening variables (Flick 1986): - age of entry to sexual unions

- use/nonuse of contraception
- abortion/non-abortion
- adoption/non-adoption.
Only two of these factors, however, are true preventive variables: delayed age of entry to sexual unions; and use of contraceptives. Each of these factors, however, is, in turn, influenced by a variety of different social indicators. For example, peer pressure, adoption of prosocial values, better parent-child communication, and increased self-esteem are only a few of the many variables that influence a child's decision to delay first intercourse or use contraceptives. This report will begin with a discussion of age at entry to sexual unions and contraceptive...
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