Ambivalent messages: Adolescents' perspectives on pregnancy and birth

Amanda Elizabeth Tanner, Shameeka M. Jelenewicz, Alice Ma, Caryn R.R. Rodgers, Avril Melissa Houston, Pat Paluzzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: To examine, from a youth's perspective, adolescent pregnancy and parenting in Baltimore, Maryland, a city with high rates of adolescent pregnancy. Methods: Six gender-stratified focus groups with 13- to 19-year-olds (4 female and 2 male groups; n = 47). We recorded focus groups, transcribed them verbatim, and analyzed them using the constant comparison method. Participants completed questionnaires to collect demographic and behavioral information. Results: Results fit into a social-ecological framework. Individual (e.g., contraceptive use behaviors, religion), interpersonal (e.g., peer norms, maintaining male partners), and community (e.g., clinic factors, perceptions of community) level influences on adolescent pregnancy emerged. Participants discussed contradictory messages that were often gendered in their expectations; for instance, women were responsible for not getting pregnant and raising children. Adolescents expressed beliefs both against (e.g., challenging to complete school) and supporting early childrearing (e.g., religion). Recommendations for addressing the different influences included mentors, education, and community resources. Conclusions: Adolescents' perspectives and values regarding pregnancy and parenting may not mirror traditional and expected norms for pregnancy and requirements for raising a child. These findings challenge the framing of existing interventions as they may not accurately reflect adolescents' values regarding pregnancy and parenting, and thus may need to be modified to highlight positive attitudes toward contraception and postponing pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-111
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Volume53
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adolescent pregnancy
  • Focus groups
  • Urban youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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