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The Effects of Teenage Pregnancy on Pre-tertiary Girls School Retainment


An Overview of Teenage Pregnancy

Atuyambe (2005) explains that teenage pregnancy is the same as adolescence pregnancy. Teenage pregnancy occurs between thirteen and nineteen years. Teenage pregnancy is normally unexpected and various expectant teenage girls react to it individually. Clemmens (2002) asserts that the expectant teenage girl has to come to terms with the unplanned expectations of being a parent. In most cases, the teenager may have to deal with stigma and isolation shown by important people like friends and siblings. Macleod (1999) reported that teenage pregnancy is a social problem that leads to the disruption of schooling, poor obstetric outcomes, inadequate mothering, poor child outcome and poor interrelationship. Teenage period is essential in the development from infancy to maturity including the change of their responsibilities. This stage is characterized by curiosity activities that are either positive or negative. The risky sexual behavior may lead to unwanted pregnancies (Patton, 2009)


Atuyambe (2005) established that expectant teenage girls compared to their teenage boys have been reported as highly affected in numerous low developed nations. Teenage pregnancy is largely viewed as personal challenges that affect either the expectant teenage girl or the entire society at large. The connection that occurs to the individual and the society problems with expectant teenage girls may not be fixed to a particular dimension. It is most likely that there is relationship of the minor and major directions of the minor and major overlapping in the Yoruba understanding of teenage pregnancy. In the society‟s view irresponsible sex activities and unplanned pregnancies effects are easier to view on the teenage girls than their sexual counterparts are. The isolation of expectant teenage girls shows that one is different in the prevailing conditions. Although teenage pregnancy is a challenging situation it distablizes both expectant teenage girls and their parents but the isolation of the issue of teenage pregnancy makes it more challenging for the expectant teenage girls than the mature women. However, Weiss and Lonnquist (2006) argued that the nature and dynamics of how social forces and circumstances such as unprotected sex are a bad life event which brings challenging issues for example isolation of expectant teenage girls.


Wiemann and Rickert (2005) in their study on the impact of teenage pregnancy explained that teenage changes lead to uncontrolled sex desire for a teenager and therefore causes to unplanned expectancies. More so, the dysfunctioning of some important family set ups are the major cause of teenage pregnancy. The parents, for example, are the main foundation of interaction seems to put aside their responsibility of enlightening and speaking with teenage boys and girls about sexual behaviours and leave the duty to the learning institutions. Learning institutions, hoping to elevate teenage pregnancy by educating teenage boys and girls to own up for individuals activities. Bissell (2000) noted that when teenage pregnancy occurs it is normally affective to numerous expectant teenage girls. Teenage girls who become expectant when compared to those who delay child bearing past the teen years, are mostly  likely to be affected in their psychosocial set up.


Psychosocial well being

Huppert (2009) explained that psychosocial wellbeing is about lives going on well. It is the combination of feeling good and functioning effectively. Deci and Ryan (2008) conceptualized psychosocial wellbeing as a wide concept, which comprises of four different aspect: the first is good impact of good attitude which includes  psychological status, joy and self esteem, the second is the bad effect or psychosocial effect which includes depressive symptoms, poor interpersonal relationship and low self-esteem . The third component is life‟s satisfactions which include individual assessment of their wellbeing and finally their personal achievements such as family, job and wealth.


Ryff and Keyes (1995) established that the Ryff Scales of psychosocial wellbeing is defined as a complicated aspect which comprises personal, societal and psychosocial wellbeing as well as wellness aspects. It is clearly explained and generally focuses on evaluating the following aspects of most psychosocial wellbeing namely, self esteem, good interpersonal relationship, independence, knowledge, life, personal goals and good relationship.


Markway and Markway (2011) asserts that many expectant teenage girls are faced with the problem of positively coping with their pregnancy accepting themselves due to negative attitude as they are brought up. This affects the expectant teenage girls who are sexually assaulted which lead to teenage pregnancy. Lehana and Rhyn (2003) established that expectant teenage girls were not psychologically prepared for adult responsibilities. A study done by Sodi (1999) on the impact of teenage pregnancy in Limpompo province, expectant teenage girls reported being bitter and ashamed of their actions a when they noticed that their future would not be as promising as it would have been the case, when they were still virgins. In another study by Richel (2014) on the factors that lead to teenage pregnancy, suggested that despite whether the pregnancies were planned for or not many of the expectant teenage girls were not prepaed to adjust and change to the responsibilities of being a mother. Their responsibility to adjust with the struggles of teenage pregnancy and their little knowledge of good infant caring skills affected their psychosocial wellbeing. This is due to the fact that distress is assumed to make persons at a high risk for depressive symptoms, poor interpersonal relationship and low self esteem and bad thoughts which lead to a lot of worry among the expectant teenager. In school, there is good relationship and friendship between teachers and expectant teenage girls. (Papalia, 2009)


Oyaro (2008) reported that teenage pregnancy has many challenges to the expectant teenage girl and her baby together with the other babies. Ibid (2012) suggested that the demands of teenage pregnancy are just too much to think of something else. Other times the isolation that comes with teenage pregnancy stops many expectant teenage girls from trying to proceed with their learning activities. Chevalier and Viltanen (2003) asserts that the demands of teenage pregnancy are very many to think of s. Many times the isolation associated with teenage pregnancy stop many expectant teenage girls from trying to complete their learning activities. This is from the educators, mothers and even their fellow schoolmates. Without good learning activities there are fewer chances for becoming wealth in their future. This explains the reason of high poverty levels and dependency ratio among expectant teenage girls to develop their wealth. Expectant teenage girls need to make sure that they proceed with their learning activities.


Macleod (2003) point out that many times the expectant teenage girls may shy off from contributing in group discussions for example during sex education  programmes. Grant and Hallman (2006) points out that due to the expectant teenage girls‟ negative reasoning and thinking, when topics like teenage pregnancy arise, the expectant teenage girls become irritated that everyone is talking about teenage pregnancy. In their minds the expectant teenage girls end up being distressed and experience challenges fulfilling medical requirements, forming mother-baby bond and completion of breastfeeding period. In other words, they teenage mothers feel neglected Holborn and Eddy (2011) found that the poor interpersonal relationship background and inadequate skills of the expectant teenage girls force them to be autonomous and gain a sense of independence in order to face everyday challenges. Expectant teenage girls feel inadequate and inferior to their boyfriends to an extent that they are unable to express their inner feelings and emotions (Casad & Kasabian, 2011)


Causes Of Teenage Pregnancy

A discussion about effects of teenage pregnancy is incomplete when the causes are not considered, thus a brief overview about some of the contributory factors is essential in order to obtain insight into the possible causes of teenage pregnancy amongst secondary school learners.

According to a research report by Macleod and Durheim (2003), some of the contributory factors of teenage pregnancy are, amongst others, reproductive ignorance, risk-taking behaviour, single parenthood, successful female headed households, family dysfunction, poor self-esteem, poor health services, peer influence, coercive sexual relations, the breakdown of tradition, and conversely, the cultural value placed on fertility (Macleod & Durheim, 2003). Poverty and family dysfunction are seen as the major contributory factors.


Teenage pregnancy is not always viewed as having a negative effect on the girls’ educational progress and general wellbeing. An Australian study by Zeck, Bjelic- Radisic, Haas and Greimel (2007) investigated the impact of adolescent pregnancy on the future life of the young mother in terms of social, familial, and educational changes. The study found that teenage mothers continue with their educational training and achieve a higher level of education after two to five years after delivery. It also found that the number of employed teenage mothers almost doubled within the same time frame.


These finding indicate that a considerable number of teenage mothers find means and ways to train and improve their educational level, as well as secure jobs despite their status of being young mothers. The study shows that there is improvement in the social, familial, and educational aspects of the teenage mothers. However, some researchers further argue that the teenagers would have advanced better if they had delayed childbearing until adulthood while taking advantage of work opportunities first (Zeck et al., 2007; Spear, 2001).


According to Macleod and Durheim (2003), there are two types of research approaches in the American literature about teenage pregnancy. The two approaches are known as the mainstream approach and the revisionist approach (Macleod & Durheim, 2003). The mainstream approach engages teenage pregnancy by exploring the negative effects of teenage pregnancy; namely disruption of schooling, poor obstetric outcomes, inadequate mothering, poor child outcomes, relationship difficulties with family, partner, peers, and demographic concerns in relation to an increasing population (Macleod & Durheim, 2003). Contradictory to the mainstream approach, the revisionist approach argues that early parenthood is a rational reaction based on observation of successful female parenthood in the African community and an avenue to achieving adulthood status and proving one’s ability to bear children as women (Macleod & Durheim, 2003).

Theoretical Framework

This study was based on two theories; Problem Behaviour Theory (PBT) and Crisis Theory.

Problem Behaviour Theory

Jessor (1987) described Problem Behaviour Theory (PBT) as any activity that is different from both psychosocial activity that is socially unacceptable from those of authority and tends to develop some form of social control response whether mild depressive symptoms. This theory focuses on three systems of psychosocial influence: self esteem and interpersonal relationship.


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