Adolescent Pregnancy and Parenthood Essay

Teenage pregnancy has been a societal concern over the past decades, and it is currently being cited as one of the most significant societal degradation in most societies including the U.S. Research studies have proved that the rate of teenage pregnancy has significantly reduced in the 21st Century when compared to the past centuries. The rate of adolescence pregnancy depends on various factors such as age and race. For instance, the rate of births is much higher in teenagers above fifteen years old than teenagers below fifteen year. In addition, the rate of births is lower among the white teenagers than African American teenagers. Researchers also argue that adolescent pregnancies are caused by frustrations among the teenagers, which arises from poor decision making skills and lack of adequate education and self-control skills. Families have also neglected their children, and this gives the teenagers opportunities to involve themselves in anything they intend to do without seeking any guidance from the seniors. It has been established that most researchers focus their studies on teenage pregnancy, but they have not addressed the resilience in some of the teenage girls. I, therefore, decided to do my paper on Teenage pregnancy. I interviewed an African American 18 year old, young lady from South Jamaica Queens. Due to confidentiality, I decided her name would be Sade. The interview between me and Sade took place at my house in the kitchen. This paper, therefore, provides a report on the factors that cause teenage pregnancies among the resilience adolescents, based on an interview between “Sade” and me, including Banduras Social Learning Theory, which best explains the causes of teenage pregnancy in the context of this interview.

Sade‘s experience with Teenage pregnancy was a positive experience, but she does have some developmental tasks to face. As a result, of Sade’s experience of being pregnant, one of the development tasks she may face is that she will grow up too fast. According to Jose b. Ashford, young women who terminate their pregnancy experience few negative consequences. Her social environment influenced her actions, where she lives most of the teenagers have once been pregnant and currently have children. I think in Sade’s case her environment will promote her development. She will hold on and wait to have children. I feel that, Sade has been positively influenced by the negativity experienced by her peers in her neighborhood. The outcome of her friends has made her choose not to have children at her age. I think Sade is not impressed with the teenager mother lifestyle, which is a typical influence of social learning (Scarborough, 2010).

I think as a social worker, the interventions that I would propose to Sade are to join a positive teen support groups and I would also help her with career development. I think Sade’s family setting is intact she seems to have no regrets. Sade seems to have a good support system, which is her family. Sade also seems to have all of her goals in place, and she is sticking to them. Her personal ambitions have been the focal point, through which she has been making her decision in the midst of all the negativities she has been experiencing (Scarborough, 2010).

The relevant theory in this interview was Banduras Social learning theory.

The Social Learning Theory, Albert Bandura purports that individuals learn and study by watching and viewing other persons’ behavioral activity. Through observational learning, children acquire their behavior by imitating the individuals in their immediate environment. Through his research, Bandura came up with three essential models that help in explaining his observational learning. The first model called live model, entails an actual individual performing a particular behavior. The second model known as verbal instruction model entails telling or speaking on the behaviors detailed descriptions. The third model, referred to as symbolic model involves a fictional character or a real individual carrying out an action through media such as radio, books, online media or movies (Scarborough, 2010).

An individual’s state of mind also known as mental states is instrumental in the learning process. In his concept, Bandura states that it is not only external reinforcement or factors that are bound to affect the learning process or and type of behavior. A special factor known as intrinsic reinforcement, according to Bandura he refers to as a type of internal reward or a better feeling after carrying out a particular action. Actions such as satisfaction, confidence or sense of accomplishment bring about intrinsic reinforcement. When an individual performs the above on numerous occasions, he pays a lot of attention in the learning process (Scarborough, 2010).

Bandura continues on to assert that, an individual who has embedded in his mind information pertaining to a particular action will copy those actions. In this stage, an individual will improve on behavior if he replicates it a number of times. In Sade’s case, she has seen her sister terminate her pregnancy at 14, and she learned the same behavior (Scarborough, 2010).

The desire of repeatedly carry out the behavior is required to continue performing it. From that point punishment, and reinforcement are seen. An individual is bound to get a reward if she demonstrates proper behavior; on the other hand, punishment comes when inappropriate behavior is displayed. When adolescents are strongly attached to parents, schools, and positive peers, they may be less likely to repeat a pregnancy. This study tested the efficacy of a counseling intervention delivered by cell phone and focused on postponing subsequent teen pregnancies by strengthening healthy relationships, reproductive practices, and positive youth assets (Scarborough, 2010).

The primary objective of this study was to compare time to a repeat pregnancy between the intervention and usual care groups. The secondary objective was to determine whether treatment intensity, influenced time to subsequent conception. Primiparous pregnant teens, ages 15-19 were recruited in Washington DC. Of 849 teens screened, 29.3 (n = 249) met the inclusion criteria, consented to participate and completed baseline measures. They were then randomized to the intervention (N = 124) or to usual care (N = 125). Intervention group teens received cell phones for 18 months of counseling sessions, and quarterly group sessions. Follow-up measures assessed subsequent pregnancy through 24 months post-delivery. A survival analysis compared time to subsequent conception in the two treatment groups. Additional models examined the effect of treatment intensity. By 24 months, 31 of the intervention and 36 of usual care group teens had a subsequent pregnancy (Scarborough, 2010).

Group differences were not statistically significant in the intent-to-treat analysis. Because there was variability in the degree of exposure of teens to the curriculum, a survival analysis accounting for treatment intensity was performed, and a significant interaction with age was detected. Participants who were aged 15-17 years at delivery showed a significant reduction in a subsequent pregnancy with increased levels of intervention exposure (P < 0.01), but not those ≥18 years. Adolescents, ≥18 years faced considerable challenges to treatment success. Individual, social, and contextual factors are all important to consider in the prevention of repeat teen pregnancy (Scarborough, 2010).

Cell phone-based approaches to counseling may not be the most ideal for addressing complex, socially-mediated behaviors such as this, except for selective subgroups. A lack of resources within the community for older teens may interfere with program success. This study was done to ensure teens speak with positive role models and peers through the cell phone. In Sade’s case, she had a mother, who qualified as a positive role model in her life, she made Sade comfortable. Sade discussed her situation with her mother, and they were able to make a decision together concerning Sade’s pregnancy. Sade is not likely to fall in to the category of a repeated teen pregnancy. In Sade’s case, for example, she has a support system, which is her family. She has knowledge on the outcomes of teen pregnancy as a result of adult levels of adjustment two years post abortion (Quinton, Major, & Richards, 2001). The majority of adolescents in another study described feeling sad and/or guilty about the abortions they had carried out earlier (Demb, 1991).

The above mentioned studies focus primarily on the decision-making capacities of adolescents who choose abortion. However, the characteristics of adolescent pregnancy terminating patients prior to their abortion, procedure have never been measured to date. Some researchers did a study in which they interviewed twelve African American adolescents as they awaited their elective abortion and then later again at 6 and 8 months post-abortion (Scarborough, 2010).

The results indicate that the adolescents in this sample chose not to continue their pregnancies because they wanted to pursue their education to ensure economic independence (Andrews & Boyle, 2003).

Research indicates that teen pregnancy does not occur in a vacuum, but rather occurs as a result of factors such as poor schooling. Recent studies on teenage mothers indicated that early parenthood had long negative impacts on their educational progress and achievement, such that most of the teenage parents are unlikely to continue with their education after giving birth. This often makes then to achieve lower levels of education than their colleagues who delay their child births (Coley & Chase-Lansdale, 1998). However, some other researches have established that this gap is progressively narrowing due to schooling requirements for welfare receipt, increasing general equivalency degree (GED) programs and changing school policies on accepting pregnant students. Moreover, a significant difference exists between educational achievement of older mothers and adolescent mothers, not because of the teenage motherhood itself, but because of the preexisting differences in the age groups (Coley & Chase-Lansdale, 1998).

Sade acknowledges during the interview session that the need to continue with her education was one of the factors that made her terminate her pregnancy. She is currently attending Law Enforcement High School by Baisley projects. It is apparent that if she had chosen to carry the pregnancy and have a baby, then she could have terminated her education too. Most of the teenage pregnancies result due to ignorance and lack proper guidance from the seniors. Teenage mothers should be made aware that having a child should not be something to prevent them from pursuing their education. With the current educational systems in most nations, they have opportunities to continue learning even when they are still pregnant (Coley & Chase-Lansdale, 1998). Innovative methodological techniques such as fixed-effects regression techniques have established that the impacts of adolescence childbearing on high school completion and total educational achievement are much lower smaller than previous studies had indicated, but are still significant (Coley & Chase-Lansdale, 1998). For instance, Hoffman et al established that delaying childbirth past twenty years increases total educational achievement by 0.38 percent.


Research indicates that teen pregnancy does not occur in a vacuum, but rather occurs as a result of factors such as poor parenting and schooling, and psychological factors pertaining to poor socio-cognition. I learned from Sade that you cannot judge a teenager based on the environment. Although, the environment that Sade lives in there are a lot of teenagers who have been pregnant and are raising children. Sade’s home environment is very structured. Even though, Sade has friends that have children, she based her choice on the values that she was raised with she has goals. Sade along with her mother made the decision. The influence that social leaning theory has on an individual can be subliminal or conscious. However, on many occasions individuals are usually unaware of the effects social leaning has on them.


Coley R. L, Chase-Lansdale P. L. (1998). Adolescent Pregnancy and Parenthood: Recent Evidence and Future Directions. American Psychologist , 154-166.

Scarborough M. K. & Ed. (2010). Enhancing Adolescent Brain Developmenmt Through Goal Setting Activities. Social Work , 276-278.