REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
The purpose of this section of the study is to provide a review of relevant literature that
focuses on questions related to teenage pregnancy. The Introduction to this study offered an
overview of the extent of the problem, its effects and outcomes, and a conceptual framework in
which it was asserted that peer pressure to begin sexual activity coupled with low self-esteem
may very well be instrumental in placing some young girls at risk for pregnancy during
The two outcomes were pregnancy rate, a proxy for conception rate, and pregnancy outcome.
Both outcomes were measured at the level of small area and were analyzed for each of three age
groups, 13-15, 16-17, and 18-19 years, based on the maternal age at conception.
Pregnancy rates in 16-17 and 18-19 year olds were expressed as the ratio of observed to expected
pregnancies, in order to standardize for marital status. The expected number of pregnancies was
derived by applying national rates in married and unmarried teenagers to local married and
unmarried populations, then adding the results to obtain a total. The expected number of
pregnancies in 13-15 year olds in each area was derived from the total national rate. Pregnancy
outcome was expressed as the proportion of conceptions resulting in a maternity; outcomes
classed as miscarriage and other were excluded. This proportion was calculated separately for
married and unmarried teenagers in each age group. I considered marital status to be an
important indicator of the cultural background of young women, although in some cases
conception would have preceded marriage.
Cause or Effect? The burdens of early childbearing on disadvantaged teens are undeniable.
Trying to untangle the factors which contribute to teenage pregnancy from its effects, however,
leads to a “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” dilemma. Educational failure, poverty,
unemployment and low self-esteem are understood to be negative outcomes of early
childbearing. These circumstances also contribute to the likelihood of teen pregnancy. For
example, recent studies suggest that most adolescent mothers have already dropped out of school
before they become pregnant. On the other hand, adolescents still enrolled in school when they
give birth are as likely to graduate as their peers. It is not clear how well the adolescents with the
most problems would have fared in the future even without early parenthood.
Following are some of the contributing factors or causes of teenage pregnancy:
1) Lack of Parental Guidance: Most people evade their children from talking about sex. In some
cases, they provide false information regarding sex and discourage their children to participate in
any informative discussion about sex. In some cases, teenage mothers are not well educated
about sex before getting pregnant and thus this leads to lack of communication between the
parents and the children.
2) Adolescent Sexual Behavior: Among the adolescents, peer pressure is a major factor that
encourages the teenage boys and girls to indulge in sexual activities. Early dating, as early as 12
years of age, is another factor that contributes to teen pregnancy.
3) Inadequate Knowledge about Safe Sex: Most adolescents are unaware of safe sex. They
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE