Teenager Problem

Topics: Marriage, Pregnancy, Abortion Pages: 18 (5612 words) Published: December 9, 2012
University of Nebraska - Lincoln

DigitalCommons@University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Nebraska Anthropologist Anthropology, Department of


Teen Pregnancy: A Cross-Cultural Phenomenon but a Western Problem? Tina Brown

Follow this and additional works at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nebanthro Part of the Anthropology Commons Brown, Tina, "Teen Pregnancy: A Cross-Cultural Phenomenon but a Western Problem?" (1999). Nebraska Anthropologist. Paper 116. http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nebanthro/116

This Article is brought to you for free and open access by the Anthropology, Department of at DigitalCommons@University of Nebraska - Lincoln. It has been accepted for inclusion in Nebraska Anthropologist by an authorized administrator of DigitalCommons@University of Nebraska - Lincoln.

Teen Pregnancy: A Cross-Cultural Phenomenon but a Western Problem? Tina Brown
Teen pregnancy (broadened to "premarital pregnancy" for research purposes) was investigated cross-culturally. Using the electronic Human Relations Area Files and literature review, attitudes toward premarital pregnancy, the incidence of premarital pregnancies, and outcomes of premarital pregnancies were compared in "African" and "Eurasian" social systems (as defined by Goody, 1976). Despite considerahle variance, there were no significant differences in approval or disapproval of premarital sex or pregnancy in African and Eurasian systems. There was no difference in incidence rates of premarital pregnancy in African and Eurasian systems; however. not taking marital status into consideration. developing countries have higher rates of adolescent childbearing than developed countries. Outcomes (forced marriage. illegitimate children. abortion. infanticide, or adoption) also did not va!}' significantly in African versus Eurasian s.vstems. African systems were slightly more likely to employ forced marriages or incorporate illegitimate children into the king roup as a result, and paternity certainty was the prima!}' concern. Eurasian systems were slightly more likely to employ adoption. and resources (or lack of them) motivated outcome decisions. Attitudes. incidence, and outcomes of premarital pregnancy were also compared in historical and modern Eurasian/industrialized countries in relation to growing female independence. Incidence rates reflect decreasing disapproval of premarital pregnancy until recent years in \\'hich education and birth control have reversed the trend. Changes in preferred strategies -- an increasing number of illegitimate children and single-parent households - have led to the increasedfocus on teen pregnancy as a societal issue.

Twenty-two percent of sexually active girls, ages 15-19, become pregnant in the United States (Henshaw for AGI, 1997). More than one in eight births was a child born to a teen mother (March of Dimes, 1997). Seventy percent of teen mothers complete high school, but they are less likely to go to college than women who delay childbearing (AGI, 1996). In 1993, 55% of the 3.8 million mothers receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children became mothers when they were teenagers. Children of teen parents are twice as likely to be abused or neglected (LincolnLancaster County Health Dept., 1995). One in five infant deaths is a child born to a teen mother (March of Dimes, 1997). Children born to single mothers tend to have lower scores on verbal and math achievement

tests, increased behavioral problems, increased rates of chronic health and psychological problems, increased rates of teenage childbearing themselves, and increased rates for dropping out of school, incarceration and unemployment (LLCHD, 1995). Taxpayers. pay an estimated $6.9 billion dollars annually on teen mothers and their children, including welfare, Food Stamp, and medical benefits, loss of tax revenue, incarceration, and foster care (Robin Hood Foundation, 1996). This is the face of "teen pregnancy" , one of the paramount social problems in...
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