Child Support Enforcement and Sexual Activity of Male Adolescents

By Huang, Chien-Chung; Han, Wen-Jui | Journal of Marriage and Family, August 2007 | Go to article overview

Child Support Enforcement and Sexual Activity of Male Adolescents


Huang, Chien-Chung, Han, Wen-Jui, Journal of Marriage and Family


Strong child support enforcement requires fathers to take financial responsibility for their children and may also encourage more responsible sexual behavior. Using the 1997 - 2001 waves of the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (N = 4,272), this article examines the association between child support enforcement and the sexual activity of male adolescents. Stronger child support enforcement was associated with fewer sexual partners, less frequent sexual intercourse, and a higher likelihood of using contraceptive methods among adolescents who had had sexual intercourse in the 12 months preceding data collection. The effects of child support enforcement were particularly strong for non-White adolescents and those living in high-poverty areas. These findings suggest that strengthening child support enforcement may be associated with reductions in some aspects of male adolescents' sexual activity.

Key Words: adolescents, child support enforcement, males, NLSY, sexual activity.

Despite recent declines, the prevalence of adolescent sexual activity, pregnancy, and births in the United States remains still high (Abma, Martinez, Mosher, & Dawson, 2004; Besharov & Gardiner, 1997; Ventura, Abma, Mosher, & Henshaw, 2003). The percentage of never-married adolescents aged 15-19 years who had ever had sexual intercourse was 45.7% for men and 45.5% for women in 2002. The likelihood of becoming pregnant for women aged 15-19 years in the United States was around 8.5% in 2000, a number two times higher than that of England, four times higher than that of France, and nine times higher than that of Japan (Abma et al.; Singh & Darroch, 2000). Most importantly, the majority of teen pregnancies and births are unintended and nonmarital (Brown & Eisenberg, 1995; Korenman, Kaestner, & Joyce, 2001). Empirical studies provide evidence that teen births may be associated with poor child development and later academic achievement and may diminish the potential for economic success of mothers and fathers (Brown & Eisenberg; Maynard, 1997; Nock, 1998); these results hold even after accounting for potential selection bias between mothers who had given birth as teenagers and those who had not (Lichter & Graefe, 2001). Accordingly, policymakers and researchers have been concerned about the causes of adolescent childbearing and the extent to which governmental policies may be able to influence teenagers' sexual activity decisions and mus reduce unintended pregnancies.

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) is the most significant recent federal public policy that has attempted to prevent teenage pregnancy and reduce the incidence of nonmarital births. Notably, it increased the costs of childbearing to absent fathers by strengthening child support enforcement. Specifically, PRWORA streamlined the legal processes for paternity establishment and required states to adopt voluntary, in-hospital, paternity establishment programs and to provide mandatory genetic testing in contested cases. To administer crtild support collection, PRWORA required all states to develop the bureaucratic capacity to monitor all child support payments. It also established a national directory of new hires that could be used to match with state directories to facilitate interstate enforcement of child support obligations. These changes helped shift the child support enforcement system from one in which payment was often discretionary to one in which payment is essentially compelled and automatic (Garfinkel, Meyer, & MeLanahan, 1998; Legier, 1996).

Examinations of the changes in child support enforcement required by PRWORA are thus needed to shed new light on the extent to which governmental policies may or may not affect teenagers' sexual activity. Most previous studies on adolescent sexual activity and pregnancy have focused on women's characteristics (Foster & Hoffman, 2001; Maynard, 1997; Singh & Darroch, 1999) despite the fact that decisions about heterosexual intercourse and contraception usually involve the men as well. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Child Support Enforcement and Sexual Activity of Male Adolescents
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.