Early Adolescents' Desires to Become Teen Parents: Social Ecological and Social Psychological Correlates

Karina M. Shreffler, Oklahoma State University
Meagan Meadows, Oklahoma State University
Ronald Cox, Oklahoma State University
Michael Merten, Oklahoma State University
Kami Schwerdtfeger, Oklahoma State University

Adolescent childbearing is higher in the U.S. than in any other industrialized country. Adolescent births are often implicitly assumed to be unintended, or occurring to youth who are ambivalent about getting pregnant. Though prior research has identified many significant predictors of adolescent childbearing, we largely do not know why some antecedents affect adolescent childbearing. The current study examines early adolescents’ perceptions of when they would like to have their first child. Specifically, we are interested in understanding how individual, familial, peer, and school characteristics are associated with the likelihood that young adolescents (median age = 13) perceive childbearing at age 18 or younger ideal for themselves. Using a district-wide sample of 7th grade students in a large, urban school district in the Central U.S., we determined that individual, familial, peer, and school characteristics are significantly associated with desiring to become a teen parent.

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Presented in Poster Session 6