Teenage pregnancy is an issue that is worthy pondering about. This issue has raised concern amongst the stakeholders who aspire to have relevant information on the issue so as to be able to come up with the necessary framework that can address the menace. In the United States, teenage pregnancy has been found to be on the rise in the recent past after a lull in the 1990s. Every year, it is estimated that close to one million teenagers become pregnant in the United States and that more than four in every ten adolescent girls have been pregnant at least once before they clocked twenty.
Most of the teenage pregnancies are however reported in older teenagers of between eighteen and nineteen. It is also estimated that over fifty percent of the teenage pregnancies end in births; thirty-five percent end in induced abortions, whereas fourteen percent end in miscarriage (Klein, 2005). Though the proportion of the American adolescents who are sexually active has relatively gone down, the rates are still higher to justify some concern. In the recent study findings, forty-five percent of high school females and forty-eight percent of their male counterparts are said to have had sexual intercourse.
The average age for first intercourse is seventeen for girls and sixteen for boys. It has also to be noted that a quarter of all youth have been reported as having had sexual intercourse by the age of fifteen years. Young teenagers’ involvement in sexual activities is prompted by coercion and non-voluntary practice. 74% of young girls under the age of 14 have reported incidences of involuntary sexual advances and 60% of those under the age of 15.
Young people who are sexually active have reported having monogamous and short-lived relationships with successive partners with current surveys indicating that over 10% of high school girls and a corresponding 17% of boys have had at least four sexual partners (Klein, 2005). Teenage pregnancy is associated with medical risks which are both for the young mother and the child that is born. Teenage pregnancies are highly likely to result in low birth weight babies and incidences of neonatal death rate are higher.
The mortality rate for the mother is also higher compared to that in adult pregnant women. There are other medical complications in teenage pregnancy which include maternal weight gain, premature births, pregnancy induced hypertension, anemia, and sexually transmitted diseases among others. Apart from the medical concerns, teenage pregnancy is likely to lead to school dropouts by the young mothers who again are most likely to be and remain single parents. There is therefore to look into the issue critically and provide a practical solution to the problem (Klein, 2005). Research Design:
The research design that has been chosen for this study is the descriptive research design. This is because, through descriptive research design, more insight in the research problem that describes the variables is emphasized. This design shall be used to generate qualitative data for analysis. The descriptive design will therefore help in answering the what, where, who, and how questions in addressing the problem identified (Creswell, 2003). Research Purpose Statement: The purpose of this research is to identify the salient factors that contribute to teenage pregnancy amongst the American youths.
There are many factors that have been associated with teenage pregnancy which include social, cultural and economical issues. These factors have been expanded to include teenage sexual behaviors, use of contraception, age discrepancy in relationships, sexual abuse, dating violence, and childhood environment for the growing child. The influence from the media can also not be ruled out as those teenagers who are exposed to sexuality in the media stands a high chance of engaging in sexual activities at a tender age. Research Questions:
The main research question for this study would be: what are the major factors that influence teenage pregnancy? This will lead to development of other minor questions including; what are the social factors leading to teenage pregnancy; what are the cultural factors that encourage teenage pregnancy and what are the economic factors that may encourage teenage pregnancy? Annotated Bibliography: Jonathan D. Klein, (2005), article ‘Adolescent Pregnancy: Current Trends and Issues’ in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics Vol. 116, Issue 1, pp 281-286 shall be used in giving insight to the teenage pregnancy issue in the US.
This article is confined to addressing pregnancy issues amongst the teenagers in the US giving its magnitude, the consequences and how it can be avoided. The information provided by this source is greatly valued as it is a peer reviewed article that is published in one of the respected journals. The information provided is of great relevance to the study topic I have chosen since there is need to be aware of the current trends on the issue. Kriste Lindenmeyer, (2002), in her chapter “For Adults Only: The Anti-Child Marriage Campaign and Its Legacy,” found in the ‘In Politics and Progress: American Society and the State since 1865, ed.
’ by Andrew Kersten and Kriste Lindenmeyer is also another bibliography that gives an insight into the historical past of the teenage pregnancy in the United States. It gives incidences of teenage pregnancy and how it was viewed in the society as from the colonial times and how the trend has been changing over time. The authenticity and validity of the information that is provided is of high integrity as the book refers to primary sources in when making a reference of the past. This source is relevant to the topic of study as it gives an overview of the hi\story of the teenage pregnancy as experienced in the United States.
G. Stanley, Hall, (1922), ‘Adolescence: Its Psychology and Its Relations to Physiology, Anthropology, Sociology, Sex, Crime, Religion, and Education’ is another source that is critical to this study. The book gives a detailed explanation of the teenage pregnancy issue and relates it to other aspects of life including the social, physiology, cultural and economical concepts among others. The validity of this source is undoubted as most of what has been argued out is even true to common sense and is not in contravention of other related studies.
I find this source relevant to the study topic given that the concept of teenage pregnancy is comprehensively reviewed. The other book that shall be used as a source for literature review for this study shall be ‘Teenage pregnancy: developing strategies for change in the twenty-first century’ by Dionne J. Jones and Stanley F. Battle, (1990). This book is resourceful in the sense that it provides an insight into the teenage pregnancy issue in the US and offers practical measures to address the menace.
The authors have presented their arguments in a logical manner and given insight in the historical past of the teenage pregnancy issue in the US. This source has been found to be relevant for the study to be undertaken as it comprehensively covers the topic of study. Lastly, the source that shall also offer necessary materials for this study is a book by Auriana Ojeda, (2006), ‘Teenage Pregnancy: Opposing Viewpoints’. In this book, Ojeda provides opposing perspectives in regard to teenage pregnancy which brings about the different opinions that individuals have in regard to the teenage pregnancy issue.
I find this source interesting to the topic of study as it reflects the reality of the teenage pregnancy in the society accommodating all the views. Data Collection: The collection of data being the most crucial aspect of any research undertaking and this study will employ the interview and the focused group discussions. Both the in-depth interviews, semi-structured interviews and unstructured interviews shall be used in the data collection process (Burton, 2000). Data Analysis and interpretation: Having collected data is not an end in itself but rather a means to an end.
In this regard it is important that analysis and interpretation of the findings is done for the presentation of the findings. The data analysis therefore needs to be systematic and rigorous so as to reduce the margin of human error. The focus should be on responding to the research question that was developed while seeking to explain and enlighten the teenage pregnancy phenomenon. The data analysis in qualitative research shall begin taking notice of important aspects in the research, collecting information on those aspects and thinking about them (Burton, 2000)
Ethical Considerations: The ethical considerations that have to be observed during the study shall have a basis from the Belmont’s Report which emphasizes on the ethical issues regarding respect for persons, beneficence, and justice. In abiding by the respect for persons, the study shall aspire to give autonomy to the participants and offer protection to these individuals given that they are still young and vulnerable. The principle of beneficence emphasizes on doing good and working to minimize harm for the general wellbeing of the participants.
The study in essence is for the general good of the teenagers as it seeks to address one of the major challenges that face the teenagers. On the third ethical principle of justices, Belmont argued that this should emphasize on who have to benefit from the research and who bears the burden. The benefits of the study are set to be shared amongst the teenagers not only in the area of study but in the whole country (Childress, Meslin and Shapiro, (2005). Limitations of the Study:
One of the major challenges of this study shall be lack of clear representation of all teenage categories in the sample population. This is because the area of study that has been chosen [XYZ] may lack inclusive representation in regard to race, culture, economic status, and social class. The sample size may also be limited given that the youth in America comprise of a sizable portion of the general population and therefore having few thousands participants may not give a true picture of the generalized reality on the ground.
The other limitation of this study would be the magnitude of the study which is by far too large and therefore requires concerted efforts from major stakeholders to lend their support in accomplishing the great task ahead. Reference: Burton, D. , (2000). Research training for social scientists: a handbook for postgraduate researchers. Sage, ISBN; 0761963510, 9780761963516 Childress, J. F. , Meslin, E. M. , and Shapiro, H. T. , (2005). Belmont revisited: ethical principles for research with human subjects.
Georgetown University Press, ISBN; 1589010620, 9781589010628 Creswell, J. W. , (2003). Research design: qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method approaches. Sage; ISBN 0761924426, 9780761924425 Hall, G. S. , (1922). Adolescence: Its Psychology and Its Relations to Physiology, Anthropology, Sociology, Sex, Crime, Religion, and Education. 2 vols. New York: Appleton. Jones, D. J. , and Battle, S. F. , (1990). Teenage pregnancy: developing strategies for change in the twenty-first century.
Transaction Publishers, ISBN; 0887388183, 9780887388187 Klein, J. D. , (2005). Adolescent Pregnancy: Current Trends and Issues. Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Vol. 116, Issue 1, pp 281-286. Lindenmeyer, K. , (2002). “For Adults Only: The Anti-Child Marriage Campaign and Its Legacy. ” ‘In Politics and Progress: American Society and the State since 1865’, ed. Andrew Kersten and Kriste Lindenmeyer. Westport, CT: Praeger Ojeda, A. , (2006). Teenage Pregnancy: Opposing Viewpoints. Greenhaven Press; ISBN 0737712430, 9780737712438