NCBI Bookshelf. The adolescent male has been ignored in previous reviews and discussions of adolescent pregnancy since teenage pregnancy and childbearing has traditionally been viewed as a female issue. This state of affairs is part of a larger phenomenon, namely the relative prior neglect of males in pregnancy, birth, and childrearing in general, among all age groups. The thesis of this chapter is that a full understanding of the implications and consequences of teenage pregnancy and childbearing requires knowledge of the role of the male. To achieve this aim, we will examine the male partners of teenage mothers in their role as parents and explore the determinants of assuming this role, and the consequences for the male, his partner and offspring.
Planning for the future could be either inhibited or enhanced by early fatherhood. Historically, the UK has had one of the highest teenage pregnancy and abortion rates in Western Europe. Teenage pregnancy puts young women Latinos teenage fathers risk for health issues, economic, social and financial issues. Since there has been only Latinos teenage fathers very limited amount of research on the nature of interactions between adolescent fathers and their infants, work on older fathers and their offspring will be examined as well. Many of the samples are drawn from clinics or other types of social agencies. Eighty-three percent of non-absent fathers had married before Sheerfinesse tgp child's birth.
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Teenage pregnancy , also known as adolescent pregnancy , is pregnancy in a female under the age of
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NCBI Bookshelf. The adolescent male has been ignored in previous reviews and discussions of adolescent pregnancy since teenage pregnancy and childbearing has traditionally been viewed as a female issue. This state of affairs is part of a larger phenomenon, namely the relative prior neglect of males in pregnancy, birth, and childrearing in general, among all age groups.
The thesis of this chapter is that a full understanding of the implications and consequences of teenage pregnancy and childbearing requires knowledge of the role of the male. To achieve this aim, we will examine the male partners of teenage mothers in their role as parents and explore the determinants of assuming this role, and the consequences for the male, his partner and offspring.
Many of the reasons for our prior neglect of adolescent fathers have derived from our general lack of concern with the male role in infancy and childhood. Social-structural and social prejudicial factors specific to adolescent fathers also contribute to this neglect. Adolescent fathers are often unmarried during the time of conception and birth, and are generally excluded from participating in the birth and early care of their infants. This is generally the result of the powerful social prejudice that surrounds pregnancy and child birth among unmarried teenagers Sawin and Parke, Before launching our discussion of the research in this area, it is important to note that there are a set of general problems of method, sampling, and design which plague many of the investigations in this area.
Sampling : A majority of the studies of males use volunteer samples which create serious interpretative problems due to subject self-selection. Many of the samples are drawn from clinics or other types of social agencies. Samples often tend to be too small to permit adequate statistical analysis.
Breakdowns are not often given about the distribution of the subjects ages across the full spectrum of adolescence. Definitions of the adolescent age period varies across studies with some using age 21 as an upper limit and others using age In some cases, older nonadolescent males are included if their female partner is an adolescent.
Comparisons among studies are further complicated by the fact that race, marital status, and socioeconomic status vary across studies. Design : Many of the studies in this literature fail to include control groups of adolescents who are not fathers.
Nor do many studies include groups of nonadolescent fathers. The majority of studies are cross- sectional, with few longitudinal studies represented in the area. Method : With few exceptions, the studies rely solely on questionnaires administered to fathers, sexually active males, or in some cases to only their female partners. Many of the questionnaires have unknown or poor psychometric properties.
Although in the vast majority of cases fatherhood during adolescence is unplanned and unexpected, many young men achieve fatherhood status during the adolescent years. It is our assumption that the adolescent male in his role as father has an impact on himself, his partner, and his offspring.
Although the research is limited and flawed, it is important to review these issues in order to give better guidance to prevention and intervention policy and programs. A long-standing theoretical tradition within the social sciences is to explain behavioral outcomes in terms of psychosocial characteristics of individuals. This search is in contrast to a perspective which emphasizes situational or environmental restraints and processes as explanatory modes. Many of the stereotypes of adolescent fathers have arisen, in part, due to our penchant for personalogical explanations.
Adolescent fathers have variously been viewed as unscrupulous, irresponsible, and uncontrolled who have little control over their lives. Since research has begun to catch up with the rhetoric, little support has been found for a separate, distinctive profile of adolescent fathers. A number of studies have assessed the personality characteristics of adolescent fathers in comparison to non-adolescent fathers.
These studies, in general, suggest that there is a great deal of overlap in the personality profiles of adolescent fathers and non-fathers. Some studies have focused on single variables while others have relied on a multivariate strategy. This variable measures the degree to which an individual believes that events in his life are causally related to his own behavior. Internal locus of control refers to the belief that the individual has control over the events and outcome in his life. On the other hand, an individual who believes that the events in his life are determined by an external source fate, luck, chance, or powerful others is considered as having an external locus of control.
It has been hypothesized that teenage fathers and mothers are higher in external locuses of control, which, in turn, may account for their lower use of contraception and for their inability to control their sexual desires and activities.
There is no support for this hypothesis for adolescent mothers; studies of adolescent mothers have found no differences in locus of control between adolescent mothers and females who are not mothers. In one study of 48 unmarried black adolescent fathers and 50 non-father adolescent controls, the fathers were higher in external control than the control adolescents Hendricks and Fullilove, In contrast, in another study Robinson, Barret, and Skeen, of 20 unwed adolescent fathers and 20 non-fathers, the investigators found no differences in locus of control.
Similarly, Williams-McCoy and Tyler found no differences in locus of control for a sample of 24 teenage fathers and 27 non-fathers. In light of the fact that both of the studies which reported no differences utilized well standardized instruments, while the Hendricks study relied on two single questions to measure externality, it is likely that locus of control is not a robust correlate of teenage fatherhood. Since it is unlikely that a single factor alone is likely to discriminate between fathers and non-fathers, perhaps multivariate studies would yield clearer patterns.
In an early study, Paulker compared the MMPI profiles of boys who became fathers during adolescence with a matched control group of boys who did not. Since the testing was executed prior to their identification as fathers, the impact of being labeled as an adolescent father was eliminated.
There were differences with the out-of-wedlock fathers scoring higher on scales which suggest higher activity and somewhat less control. However, the overlap between the test scores was extensive and only three of thirteen scales were significant. Similarly, there were no differences on the test of intellectual functioning.
Fifteen years later, this conclusion still seems to have considerable validity. Williams-McCoy and Tyler , in a recent study of black adolescent males 24 fathers and 27 non-fathers assessed a variety of personality and background characteristics including locus of control, trust, coping styles, as well as whether the subject was born out-of-wedlock and the presence of a sister or brother who had an out-of-wedlock child.
Only one personality factor discriminated fathers and non-fathers: interpersonal trust. Fathers were less trusting than non-fathers. Again, personality factors seem to play a relatively minor role in determining whether or not an adolescent male becomes a father.
Others confirm the general lack of differences in personality characteristics of adolescent fathers and non-fathers. In a study of teenage fathers and non-father, age-matched peers ranging from 14 to 19 years old, no differences were found in the psychological profiles of the two groups Rivara, Sweeney, and Henderson, as assessed by the Offer Self-Image Questionnaire, a measure of personality adjustment which yields several subscales: impulse control, sexual attitudes, family attitudes, and mastery of the external world.
Instead, the background of the boys—namely, whether or not their own mother was a teenage parent—was the principal discriminating factor in these two recent studies. Whether this effect is mediated by parenting modeling, differences in the permissiveness of attitudes toward sexual activity the greater acceptance of teenage childbearing or some further factor is not clear.
Part of the difficulty of isolating personality profiles may be the individual vs. Each partner brings into the relationship their own set of sexual values and psychological traits. In summary, there is no firm basis for concluding that there are differences in personality of teenage males who do and do not become fathers.
The search for the predictors of which male adolescents will father a child clearly should be directed elsewhere. In order to assess the role that an adolescent plays as a parent, a number of issues will be examined including a their knowledge, b their interest in infants, and c their competence to perform care-giving tasks.
It is our assumption that a multivariate framework is necessary in order to understand the dynamics of the adolescent father as parent. Second, it is assumed that a developmental perspective is necessary. Third, a life course perspective is useful since this view alerts us to the competing demands and needs of the male during the adolescent period.
Fourth, it should be emphasized that the determinants of adolescent sexual activity and the determinants of adolescent parenting may be independent. Fifth, assessment of the parenting role requires recognition of direct and indirect effects.
Fathers can impact their offspring through direct interaction as well as indirectly through the support that he provides the child's mother. There are a variety of social, emotional, and cognitive limitations which may curtail the adolescent's ability to parent. Identity Formation. During adolescence, one of the major developmental tasks is the task of identity formation Erikson, While the process is multifaceted, complex, and gradual, this process is not often fully accomplished until late adolescence or even the early 20s Satrock, ; Waterman and Goldman, This potentially limited capacity for intimacy may curtail the adolescent's ability to parent.
Cognitive Development. During adolescence, the individual's cognitive capacities undergo a set of changes. At approximately age 12, the child moves, to use Piaget's description, from concrete to formal operations. In addition to improved problem solving skills, the future time perspective of adolescents is greater than that of younger children.
However, in the present context, it needs to be emphasized that there are very large individual differences in how quickly these transitions take place. Second, the process is a gradual one which continues across adolescence into adulthood Keating, Third, adolescents or even adults often fail to employ formal operational thinking nor do they apply their highest levels of thinking to all problem areas. Emotional factors may especially interfere with the effective utilization of these capabilities.
In the present context, it is likely that among adolescents, there will be great differences in their cognitive abilities to manage the planning and problem solving associated with effective parenting.
One of the main tasks of adolescence is the gradual development of independence and emancipation from the family. The early onset of fatherhood conflicts with this movement, particularly if the male is still financially and perhaps emotionally dependent on his family. This may prolong the period of dependence which, in burn, could lead to intergenerational conflict.
Although many researchers have found conflict between mother and adolescent daughter over decisions about child care and childrearing Sadler and Catrone, , conflict between adolescent fathers and their parents is likely, especially if the new family lives with the paternal grandparents Bolton and Belsky, On the other hand, early fatherhood may result in premature emancipation prior to the time when the adolescent male was prepared to sever family ties.
Being emotionally dependent on his own parents, he may be unprepared to accept the responsibilities of fatherhood. Nor are these issues separate. In a longitudinal study of college freshmen' the attainment of a stable identity, for example, is related to a higher degree of family independence Waterman and Waterman, Similarly, LaVoie found that male adolescents high in identity reported less parental regulation and control. Early fatherhood may inadvertently lead to heightened family dependence, which in turn, could interfere with the progress of identity formation.
At the same time that dependence and involvement in the family is decreasing, involvement in the peer group is increasing Hartup, ; Gottman and Parker, Early onset of parenthood is incompatible with this heightened participation in peer activities and the necessity of curtailing or even ceasing this participation is another obstacle to acceptance of parental responsibility.
There are educational and occupational barriers which limit the adolescent male's capacity to assume parental responsibility. On the educational side, there is conflict between the pressure to continue formal schooling and the pressure to provide financial assistance for his partner and child. Education is less often interrupted in order to assume parental responsibilities in the case of male than female adolescents.
Two factors may account for this sex difference. First, societal demands to assume the central caregiver role are stronger for females than males Bernard, , while greater support and value is placed by parents on educational achievement for males than females.
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Latinos teenage fathers.
Teenage pregnancy and teen parenthood have been major social problems in the United States in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Throughout the s and early s, the US teenage pregnancy and birth rates skyrocketed. Because pregnant and parenting adolescent girls and their children were at risk for a host of social, economic, and health problems, widespread attention has been focused on understanding and addressing their needs.
Meanwhile, adolescent fathers were largely ignored by society and were the victims of harmful stereotypes that erroneously depicted them as callous males who sexually exploited their female partners and then abandoned them and their babies.
This article provides an overview of the characteristics, problems, and paternal behavior of teenage fathers and what we know about helping these young men with the challenges associated with early fatherhood. Literature on the subjects of teenage pregnancy and childbearing and adolescent mothers has burgeoned since the s largely due to much-warranted societal concern about adolescent mothers and their babies.
However, there have been relatively few publications on teenage fathers: in particular, books that provide a general overview of the topic. Nevertheless, a much smaller but growing literature on adolescent fathers did emerge, and a few good basic manuscripts on this segment of the population have been published and are cited here. Elster and Lamb and Robinson were the earliest comprehensive volumes on the subject, providing critical overviews of the social sciences and reproductive health literature about young fathers while also raising awareness about the difficulties of adolescent fathers.
Lerman and Ooms includes national survey data and policy considerations pertaining to young unwed fathers. Klinman, et al. Brown , Achatz and MacAllum , and Romo, et al. Achatz, Mary, and Crystal A. Young Unwed Fathers: Report from the Field. This report consists of an ethnographic study that identifies the hardships of young, unwed fathers in an urban environment and the barriers that deterred them from participating in service programs.
This report includes an evaluation of a pilot service project administered in six cities that was designed to improve and reinforce parenting skills, increase earning potential, motivate declarations of legal paternity, and increase child support payments by young fathers. Brown, Sally. A rich source of information about the complicated lives of adolescent fathers and a detailed summary of the development, implementation, and evaluation of a comprehensive service project that was designed to assist young fathers.
Elster, Arthur, and Michael Lamb, eds. Adolescent Fatherhood. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, Reports on the sexual behavior and contraceptive use of adolescent males, the prevalence of adolescent fatherhood, and the dilemmas, stressors, and coping strategies of teenage fathers. This work also summarizes research on the parental behaviors of teen fathers, the role of child abuse in adolescent fatherhood, and the consequences of teen fatherhood on educational attainment.
Concludes by providing a rationale for service delivery to young fathers, complete with guidelines for practice, research, and policy. Kiselica, M. A compassionate examination of adolescent fatherhood in the United States, including overviews of the sex lives of American teenagers; the characteristics, parenting behaviors, and service needs of adolescent fathers; and male-friendly approaches to helping them.
Klinman, Debra G. Rosen, Karen R. Longo, and Lorenzo P. Report on a two-year national demonstration and research effort aimed at encouraging agencies to extend services to teenage fathers. This project gathered background data on teenage and young adult fathers, studied the characteristics of young men who availed themselves of services, identified essential components of successful programs for teenage fathers, and analyzed the impact of services for young fathers.
Lerman, Robert I. Ooms, eds. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, Robinson, Bryan E. Teenage Fathers. Lexington, MA: D. Heath, A critical review of the popular and research literature on teenage fatherhood that chronicles the teen father phenomenon, dispels common myths about adolescent fathers, highlights the tragic consequences of adolescent fatherhood and the psychological adjustment of teen fathers, offers suggestions for practitioners, and describes model programs and resources on teenage fathers.
Romo, Carlos, Jennifer V. Bellamy, and Marion Coleman. Contains a rich demographic profile of hundreds of adolescent and young adult fathers. Also describes promising service models and the Texas Fragile Family TFF Initiative, which was a project to develop social services for young, low-income fathers that would help them to support the emotional, physical, and financial needs of their children. This report concludes with a summary of the major evaluation findings of the TFF.
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Related Articles about About Related Articles close popup. Teenage Fathers by Andrew M. Kiselica , Mark S. Introduction Teenage pregnancy and teen parenthood have been major social problems in the United States in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. General Overviews Literature on the subjects of teenage pregnancy and childbearing and adolescent mothers has burgeoned since the s largely due to much-warranted societal concern about adolescent mothers and their babies.
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