Among the developed countries of the world, the United States has the highest rate of adolescent pregnancy and birth. Many Americans believe that teens that get pregnant have no dreams of going to college or finding a good job.
A recent study out of the Women and Infants Hospital of Rhode Island has shown that pregnant teens do have aspirations of attending college and of getting a good job. These aspirations were not affected by whether the pregnancy was intended or not.
The researchers spent two years and interviewed 257 pregnant teenagers at the Women’s Primary Care Center. They gathered information in order to see if there was any correlation between an intention to get pregnant and the teenager’s career goals. College aspirations were measured based upon the career goals and whether the goals required a college education.
It is true that educational achievement is lower for teen mothers. But the study showed that their aspirations did not differ from those of teens who did not get pregnant during adolescence.
The majority of the adolescents interviewed reported that their pregnancy was unintended. They had aspirations that involved a college education. They also reported that after the baby was born that they planned to return to school.
The study was designed to test the hypothesis that there is a difference between teenagers reporting intentional pregnancies based upon their career aspirations. Specifically, those pregnant teenagers who aspired to careers requiring a college degree were less likely to report that their pregnancy was intentional than were pregnant teenagers aspiring to careers that did not require a college degree.
Fifteen percent of the girls whose career aspirations did not require a college degree reported that they wanted to get pregnant. Ten percent reported that they had been trying to get pregnant. Seventeen percent of the girls who wanted a college degree reported that they wanted to be pregnant and fourteen percent reported that they had been trying to get pregnant.
The average age of participants was 16.8 years. 70% had never been pregnant before. The largest ethnic group was Hispanic at 46 percent of the participants.
The study also concluded that there is a need for tailored intervention programs that assist pregnant teens graduate from high school, attend college and go after their career aspirations. This is due to the significantly lower rates of educational achievement among teenage girls that get pregnant when compared to women who delay having children.
More related stories…