Teenage Runaway

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LITERATURE REVIEW
POVERTY, HOMELESSNESS AND TEENAGE PREGNANCY

February 2006

Prepared for:

First Steps Housing Project, Inc. Saint John, NB

Prepared by: Evaluation Designs Ltd. Fredericton, N. B.

Funding for this Literature Review was provided by First Steps Housing Project Inc. Saint John, NB Canada

Author of the Literature Review: Tim Dilworth Evaluation Designs Ltd. Fredericton, New Brunswick Canada E3B 4H7 _____________________________________________

Principal: Carole Dilworth Evaluation Designs Ltd. Fredericton, New Brunswick Canada E3B 4H7 _____________________________________________

General enquires regarding this report should be directed to: Sharon Amirault Executive Director Tel. (506) 693-2228 Email: firststeps@nb.aibn.com

First Steps Housing Project Inc. and Evaluation Designs Ltd. © 2006.

Literature Review

Introduction

Introduction
This Literature Review was undertaken at the request of First Steps Housing Project Inc., Saint John, New Brunswick. It offers a comprehensive overview of the published literature on the topics of teen pregnancy, poverty, homelessness, effects of teen parenting and of poverty on child development, effects of childhood abuse and the societal and financial costs of “doing nothing”. Primary sources of literature were used throughout: primarily journal articles accessed on-line through the Harriet Irving Library (UNBF) and articles by experts in their field sourced on the internet. Every attempt has been made to properly reference the literature. However, the reader is advised that in many instances the writing of the original author/s best expressed the issue and therefore, the paragraphs were incorporated only with minor editing for readability. References are found at the end of the discussion for each topic area. Because each topic area stands alone, there is some repetition of the findings between topic areas.

Evaluation Designs Ltd. Fredericton, NB

1

First Steps Housing Project, Inc. Saint John, NB

Evaluation Designs Ltd. Fredericton, NB

2

First Steps Housing Project, Inc. Saint John, NB

Literature Review

Influences on vulnerable teen age girls and issues of pregnancy and homelessness

Topic I.

Influences on vulnerable teenage girls and issues of pregnancy and homelessness

Poverty
The reason(s) why teenage women become pregnant or give birth are difficult to categorize. In the body of literature examined, it was reported that the rise in rates was due to the fact that more teenagers were sexually active, were using less contraception, or that there was an individual desire to become pregnant (1). The first two factors were borne out by the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (1998/99 and 2000/01) which estimated that 12% of boys and 13% of girls had sexual intercourse by ages 14 or 15. Poverty, school achievement, and self esteem were also factors which have been said to play a role (2). Research illustrated that the lack of opportunity and socioeconomic disadvantage significantly contributes to teen age pregnancy (3). Poverty “…can be both the consequences and the causes of teen pregnancy and childbearing” (4). Teen pregnancy is highly correlated with living in poverty (1). Teens living in poverty were more likely to get pregnant than teens who do not, and furthermore, teen parents often had lower lifetime earnings, as well as more social problems throughout life (2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8). Pregnancy rates were highest among teens from single-parent families who had experienced poverty. For these teens, motherhood represented an acceptable solution that would compensate for a life of 1 psychological, moral, family and social hardship .

The extensive literature review by Dilworth (1) suggested that statistically, young mothers face a life of poverty, have lower levels of education and have less opportunity in the workplace than non-parenting teens. She found that research on teen pregnancy...
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