ERIC Number: ED334534
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Aug-17
Teenage Motherhood: Its Relationship to Unidentified Learning Problems.
This study examined characteristics of a group of adolescent mothers and their infants who participated in an intervention program run by a public health department. The subjects were administered a structured interview and a measure of self-esteem, and efforts were made to obtain their school records from local public schools. The Mental Scale of the Bayley Scales of Infant Development was administered to infants at their 9- and 18-month clinic visits. California Achievement Test results suggested the presence of academic weaknesses in reading and language skills, likely weak enough to have warranted special education services if these deficiencies had been diagnosed while the girls were still in school. No evidence of impaired self-esteem was found. Although contradictory findings regarding the self-esteem of adolescent mothers exists in the literature, this finding may have reflected genuine increases in self-esteem following the birth of their babies. Evaluation of the infants' performances confirmed previous findings that the children of adolescent mothers may be at risk for developmental delays. Although language abilities and social skills appeared to represent relative weaknesses for the infants in this study at all ages, cognitive skills were initially strong before one year and appeared to show some decline with age. The results of this study call into question current federal policy that favors the promotion of sexual abstinence as the primary method for preventing teenage pregnancy. If adolescent motherhood is not an accidental occurrence but in fact reflects a maladaptive response to complex and serious social problems, present federal policies would appear to be misguided. A contributing factor is also held to be the failure of public school systems to deal effectively with these adolescents' academic needs. (LLL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (99th, San Francisco, CA, August 16-20, 1991).