The sociological approach toward social problems differs from other approaches in that the sociological approach includes a focus on self-consciousness and building awareness that an individual’s interaction with society can oftentimes be influenced by forces outside of the single individual’s control or area of power. The author of one of our texts, Anna Leon-Guerrero, who is a Professor of Sociology at Pacific Lutheran University, writes that “Unlike any other discipline, sociology provides us with a form of self-consciousness, an awareness that our personal experiences are often caused by structural or social forces (Leon-Guerrero, 2010). Certain problems are considered significant, or more significant, than other problems due to a sociological perspective that gained prominence in the 1960’s called “Social Constructionism.” This perspective states, when attempting to explain why society places more significance on some issues rather than others that “They (the issues) become real only when they are subjectively defined or perceived as problematic (Leon-Guerrero, 2010). Another sociologist, Denise Loseke writes that, “Conditions might exist, people might be hurt by them, but conditions are not social problems until humans categorize them as troublesome and in need of repair” (Leon-Guerrero, 2010).
Teen pregnancy is a very serious social problem that has a large impact on society. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (NCPTP) has established connections between early pregnancy and childbearing to a number of other serious social issues, for instance health, education and poverty ("Unplanned pregnancy, sexual," 2012). The NCPTP reports that between the years 1990 and 2008 “The teen pregnancy rate has declined an impressive 42%” ("Unplanned pregnancy, sexual," 2012). The Guttmacher Institute offers some explanation of this decline citing “changes in sexual behavior, fear of HIV, changing attitudes about sexuality, increased availability of...
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