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 adolescence (Santor, Messervey, & Kusmakar, 2000).
Presented below will be a discussion of first, the extent of teen pregnancy in the United States and secondly, a description of some of the outcomes, effects, and impacts of teenage pregnancy and childbirth on teenagers and their offspring. The review will conclude with a description of some of the interventions that have been developed to reduce what has been characterized as a major public health problem in the United States (Sawhill, 2006).
The Guttmacher Institute (2006), a New York City based research organization, reported on the incidence of teenage pregnancy in the United States. Each year almost 750,000 females between the ages of 15 and 19 become pregnant. The teenage pregnancy rate in this country is at its lowest level in 30 years, down 36 percent since its peak in 1990. At the same time, the problem continues to be significant and to represent a major challenge to educators, health care providers, and social service support systems.
The good news, according to the Guttmacher Institute (2006), is that the teenage birth rate in 2002 was 30 percent lower than the peak rate of 61.8 births per 1,000 women which was reached in 1991. Between 1988 and 2000, teenage pregnancy rates declined in every state and in the District of Columbia. The Guttmacher Institute (2006) also reported that among black women aged 15 to 19, the pregnancy rate fell by 40 percent between 1990 and 2002, while declining by 34 ...