PREGNANCY AMONG TEENAGE GIRLS
More than one million girls become pregnant every year in the U.S., a rate of teen pregnancy greater than those of other industrialized nations. There is as much research supporting the close relationship between self-esteem and teenage pregnancy as any other problem behavior. Hayes and Fors (1990) report that lower self-esteem is often an antecedent to the engagement in premarital sexual relationships and is more likely to be responsible for teen pregnancies than any other single factor. They found that as self-esteem decreases, sexual attitudes and behavior become more permissive.
Many teenage girls feel that pregnancy is the only alternative to feeling powerless and unimportant. Being pregnant becomes the source of new status, new power and a way to prove to yourself and everyone else that you are capable of being loved and that you have someone who will love you unconditionally. Statistics have shown that 85-90% of the teenage mothers elect to keep their babies rather than give them up for adoption in the belief that a baby will provide the kind of unconditional love and acceptance that they feel they never had.
Studies indicate that a typical profile of teenagers who become pregnant include: being a poor or disinterested student, having low self-esteem, lacking basic skills, looking for someone to love her or something to love, and frequently coming from a dysfunctional family or been sexually abused. Thus, it is felt that if ways can be found to boost the level of self-esteem of girls, it will be.
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