Adolescent Romantic Relations and Sexual Behavior: Theory, Research, and Practical Implications

By Paul Florsheim | Go to book overview

12
Romantic Relations
Among Adolescent Parents
Paul Florsheim
University of Utah
David Moore
University ofPuget Sound
Chuck Edgington
Oklahoma State University

Between 1985 and 1995, approximately 11% of young women between the ages of 15 and 19 became pregnant. About half of these women decided to continue the pregnancy and keep their children (Ventura, Mosher, Curtin, Abma, & Henshaw, 2000). Although adolescent pregnancy and childbirth usually occurs within the context of an intimate relationship, there has been remarkably little research on the relationship between adolescent mothers and their partners (Coley & Chase-Lansdale, 1999; Florsheim, Moore, Zollinger, MacDonald, & Sumida, 1999; Lamb & Elster, 1985; Marsiglio & Cohan, 1997). Perhaps it is assumed that because the relationship between an adolescent mother and her partner is likely to be unstable, it is less consequential to the process of parenting. However, it could be argued that the unstable nature of these relationships only heightens their importance (Whiteside & Becker, 2000). That is, adolescent mothers and fathers who experience serious relationship problems may have a more difficult adjustment to parenthood, either because they lack the benefits of a supportive partner, or because relational distress interferes with parental functioning (Cutrona, Hessling, Bacon, & Russell, 1998; Gee & Rhodes, 1999; Nitz, Ketterlinus, & Brandt, 1995). The basic premise of this chapter is that because the process of raising a child is intensely interpersonal, we need to better understand the relationships that develop between pregnant and parenting teenagers and their coparenting partners (Belsky & Hsieh, 1998; Brunelli, Wasserman, Rauh, & Alvarado, 1995; Osofsky &Culp, 1993; Osofsky, Osofsky & Diamond, 1988).

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