The study examined the effects of parental marital status and peer influence on the occurrence of teenage pregnancy among 324 female teens in south-south, Nigeria. The participants responded to a valid scale. The Pearson correlation and Multiple Regression procedures were used to investigate the predictive capacity of the independent variables on the dependent variables. The result indicated that the two independent variables, when taken together and individually were effective in predicting teenage pregnancy among female teens. Single parents were seen to be more associated with teenage pregnancy than intact parents. On the basis of these findings it was suggested that in addition to providing sound sex education, parents should ensure appropriate supervision of the activities of their children particularly the female child and the kind of peer associations they keep and that the government should set up social service agencies to enable them assist single parents and their children particularly the female child to attain proper development.
KEYWORDS: Parental marital status (single vs intact parents), Peer Influence, Teenage Pregnancy.
Teenage pregnancy has become a global epidemic. The rate at which female teens aged between 15 and 19 are becoming pregnant as well as becoming teen mothers is a source of concern. Within the last two decades the problem of Teenage pregnancy had experienced a decrease however what is most worrisome to some researchers and health workers is that, it's relatively still very high. For instance, in the developed world, the US had the highest occurrence. According to reports from UNFPA in 2002, teenage birth rate in United States was 53 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19. In addition, if all pregnancies, including those which end in abortion or miscarriage, are taken into account, then the total rate in 2000 was 75.4 pregnancies per 1,000 girls. In the U. K, which has the highest teenage birth rate in Europe (20 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19 in 2002 UNFPA.
The highest rate of teenage pregnancy in the world in subSaharan Africa is placed at 143 per 1,000 girls aged 15-19 years as reported by (Treffers, 2003). It is presumed in general, that women in Africa get married at much earlier ages than women elsewhere leading to pregnancies at earlier age. In Niger, according to the Health and Demographic Survey in 1992, Locoh, (2002) reports that 47% of women aged 20-24 were married before 15 and 87% before 18. In addition, 53% of those surveyed had given birth to a child before the age of 18. In Nigeria the reports are similar. Recent report in the Encyclocentral (2008) showed that the teen pregnancy rate, globally, as surveyed in 2002, was 1.5% to 1.9% and that it has been increasing rapidly with the highest occurrence in Nigeria (87%). This report is largely worrisome and extremely alarming.
Notably, a large proportion of that survey may have proceeded from the northern region of the country as a result of encouraged teenage marriage among the inhabitants. However a significant part of that survey also may have accrued from the southern region with a greater part of these unmarried. For example, Bimbola and Ayodele, (2007), in a recent study, lamented the increase in teenage pregnancy and motherhood in Ekiti state. Shittu, (1999) complained about the prevalence of Teenage pregnancy among teenage girls aged between 9-13 years in Isokan local government area of Osun state. Studies by Feyesitan and Pebley (1989), Makinwa (1992) showed that premarital sex among teenage girls is on the increase, while the use of contraceptive method is low. Egunjobi, (1999) held that two out of every five teenage girls in secondary schools in Nigeria has had at least one pregnancy and that 60% of patients show up in the hospital to complain about abortion complications.
The antecedent consequences of teenage pregnancy are demeaning and depressingly attributive to include problems like compromised life chances, maternal health risk, academic and educational deficit, poverty, social stigma and a host of negative effects on the psychological, economical and marital careers of the pregnant teenager (Card 8c Wise, 1981; Hayes, 1997;Uwakwe, Falola, Adeyemo and Osiki, 2001:Ugoji, 2004). …