Why Does Poverty Increase the Risk to Teen Pregnancy?

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Why Does Poverty Increase the Risk to Teen Pregnancy?

Self-belief does not necessarily ensure success, but self-disbelief assuredly spawns failure (Bandura, 1997, p. 77).‛ Poverty refers to the condition of not having the means to afford basic human needs such as clean water, nutrition, health care, clothing and shelter. [1] In this essay we will examine Albert Bandura’s self-efficacy theory and its correlation to poverty increasing the risk of teen pregnancy. We will explore how this conceptual framework can be used for personal and social betterment. We will examine the home environment and mind set of pregnant teens and offer suggestion for improving the outlook for these children.

Self-efficacy is defined as a person's beliefs about his or her ability to attain particular goals. It has been found to impact the coping ability and behaviors of the individual (Bandura, 1994). The basic tenets of Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy centers around four sources of information. (1) Actual performance—if we repeatedly succeed at tasks, our sense of efficacy increases. If we repeatedly fail, our sense of efficacy drops. (2) Vicarious experiences—seeing others succeed at a tasks gives us the confidence that we can also succeed. (3) Verbal persuasion—others voicing confidence, encouragement that we can perform a task, usually results in accomplishment. (4) Physiological cues—interpreting tension or fatigue as a sign that a task is too difficult for us. When considering the mentality of a teenager, without regard for pregnancy or poverty, mastering these ‘four sources of information’ is a challenge.

Bandura asserts that efficacy determines the goals people set for themselves, how much effort they expend, how long they persevere in the face of barriers, and their resilience to failure. Efficacy also influences affective processes-those regulating emotional states and reactions such as stress, anxiety arousal, and depression (Bandura, 1994). Just as important the...
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