The Teenage Girls Whose 'Career' Choice Is Pregnancy

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Byline: JENNY HOPE

YOUNG girls who dislike school are more likely to become teenage mothers, according to a study.

They may see pregnancy as preferable to staying at school or starting a career.

Research suggests that youngsters who do not like school are more likely to have sex before 16 and to expect to become parents before the age of 20 than those who enjoy being at school.

Yet the study found no difference between sexual knowledge among the two groups of teenagers.

Family campaigners said last night that the research disproves the contention that lack of sex education is a major cause of teenage pregnancy.

Robert Whelan, director of Family and Youth Concern, said: 'The Government's strategy to prevent teenage sex by providing sex education at ever younger ages and handing out condoms and other contraception is doomed to failure.

'It should be scrapped and started again from scratch because this study shows for some teenage girls getting pregnant can be a lifestyle choice.'

Researchers surveyed more than 8,000 pupils aged 13 and 14 from central and southern England about sexual knowledge, attitudes and behaviour.

They found that dislike of school was linked to a greater risk of teenage pregnancy, according to the study - published yesterday in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Compared to students who enjoyed school, those who did not like school were more likely to have had sex, expect to be having sex by 16 and expect to be parents by 20.

The study was carried out by the Social Science Research Unit, based at the Institute of Education, London University.

Researcher Vicki Strange said: 'Young people who dislike school might be more likely to see teenage pregnancy as inevitable or as a positive alternative to continuing education or a career. …