Adolescent Fatherhood

Adolescent Fatherhood

Adolescent Fatherhood

Adolescent Fatherhood

Excerpt

Until relatively recently, adolescent pregnancy and parenthood were viewed from a rather narrow perspective. For at least 2 decades, health service providers, psychologists, educators, and researchers speculated about causes and consequences, health care delivery systems, health habits, and an array of sociopolitical issues that affect pregnant adolescents, adolescent mothers, and their infants. Certain "truths" emerged, mostly regarding medical issues, but the majority of psychosocial questions remained unanswered because the available data were inadequate or inconclusive. In part, the problem was that few researchers had studied populations other than the disadvantaged poor. In addition, the changing sociopolitical and legal climate altered both the epidemiology of adolescent pregnancy and the frequency of the various pregnancy outcomes. Further, there were few research teams that benefited from the multidisciplinary backgrounds needed to understand the complex interactions among the physiological, biological, psychological and sociological factors pertinent to adolescent pregnancy and parenthood. Lastly, our understanding of adolescent pregnancy and parenthood was hampered by an exclusive focus on adolescent mothers and their children, without regard for the male role in both pregnancy and parenthood. This research myopia was exemplified in many studies during the 1970s into "the causes of adolescent pregnancy". A conflicting array of personality traits, family factors, peer influences, and psychological characteristics were "causally associated" with adolescent pregnancy, but unfortunately, few consistent results were obtained. In almost every case, teen mothers were studied without regard for their partners.

Times are changing, however, and there is a renewed interest in the role of the father in family life. During the past 10 years, many researchers have investigat-

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