Preventing Teen Pregnancy Among Minority Populations: Risk and Protective Factors

Preventing Teen Pregnancy Among Minority Populations: Risk and Protective Factors

Rebecca A. Vidourek (University of Cincinnati, USA) and Keith A. King (University of Cincinnati, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6108-8.ch011
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Despite reduction in the rates of teen pregnancy nationwide, teen pregnancy in the United States remains higher than other industrialized countries. Minority youth are at higher risk for teen pregnancy than their White counterparts. With this in mind, the purpose of this chapter is to examine risk and protective factors for teen pregnancy among racial and ethnic minorities. Risk and protective factors exist on multiple levels and pregnancy prevention programs often target such factors to reduce teen pregnancy. In addition, intervention strategies aimed at reducing teen pregnancy among these populations will also be discussed. Researchers have identified components of successful teen pregnancy prevention programs. New strategies also include focusing on after school programs and technology among others to reduce teen pregnancy among minority youth. Collective efforts of families, schools, and communities are warranted.
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Issues, Controversies, Problems

Significance of Preventing Teen Pregnancy Among Minority Youth

Short and long-term negative outcomes of teen pregnancy serve as a primary motivator for preventing teen pregnancy. Teen mothers are less likely to complete high school or attend college than women who delay having children until age 30 or later (Hoffman, 2006). In fact, by age 22, only half of teen mothers receive a high school diploma compared to 90% of non-teen mothers (Perper, Peterson, & Manlove, 2010). This educational disparity has lasting effects on the teen mother and child, as well as on society and the economy. In addition, an estimated one in ten (9.0%) males between the ages of 12 to 16 became fathers before the age of 20 (Scott, Steward-Streng, Manlove, and Moore, 2012). Research indicates teen fathers are also less likely than teens who are not fathers to receive a high school diploma (Mollborn, 2010).

US taxpayers spent over $9 billion dollars in 2010 on health care, foster care, and incarceration costs of children of teen parents, while also losing tax revenue due to the lower levels of education and income of teen mothers. Unfortunately, teen motherhood often results in a cycle of poverty and other negative problems, with the children of teen moms having lower education levels and achievements, lower levels of employment, greater health problems, higher incarceration rates, and higher levels of teen pregnancy (Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy, 2008). In fact, it is estimated that teen mothers have approximately two years less education than their counterparts. Preventing teen pregnancy is crucial to stopping this negative cycle and promoting greater well-being for those at risk of teen pregnancy.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Family Connectedness: Characterized by feelings of belongingness to family and a leading protective factor against youth involvement in risky behaviors including behaviors that lead to teen pregnancy.

Authoritative Parenting: Parenting style characterized by parent-child communication, parental warmth, and parental monitoring and recognized as protective factor against risky behavior.

Protective Factors: Decrease the likelihood for an individual to encounter a specific disease or condition (in this case, teen pregnancy) or to engage in an unhealthy behavior.

Positive School Climate: Characterized by caring and supportive relationships at school, opportunities to plan and become involved in school activities, and shared norms, values, and goals with peers and others.

Parenting Style: Strategies parents use to raise children. Research recognizes four major styles including authoritative, neglectful, permissive, and authoritarian.

Risk Factors: Increase the likelihood (in this case, teen pregnancy) for an individual to encounter a specific disease or to engage in a specific behavior.

Positive Youth Development: Proactive, prosocial method of enhancing youth strengths, engaging them in families, schools, and communities to promote positive outcomes by building relationships, increasing protective factors, and reducing risk factors.

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