ERIC Number: ED416004
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-May
Reference Count: N/A
Perceptions of Educational Opportunity and Early Childbearing: An Empirical Assessment of the Opportunity Cost Hypothesis.
Sugland, Barbara W.
This study explored the relationship between perceived educational opportunities and the likelihood of first birth among young women. Data came from the first five waves (1979-1983) of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. A cohort of 1,747 females, 14 to 16 years of age at the first interview, who had not experienced a birth prior to the first interview or within 7 months of first interview, and who had complete fertility histories at the 1983 panel, comprised the study sample. The discrepancy between young women's educational aspirations and expected educational achievements (expectations) was used to operationalize perceptions of opportunity and to predict the probability of a first birth among race/ethnicity subgroups of young women. Findings showed that all women expressed high educational ambitions, although non-whites perceived greater barriers to educational achievement than whites. Perceptions of opportunity, apart from background characteristics, were associated with the likelihood of a first birth among young white women, but had no substantial impact on the likelihood of a first birth among either young black or Hispanic women. White women who perceived barriers to educational attainment demonstrated twice the risk of first birth as whites who perceived few or no barriers to completing their desired education. These data suggest that perceptions of opportunity affect the risk of first birth for white women, but the data do not support the "nothing to lose" hypothesis of early childbearing applied to non-whites. (Contains 46 references.) (Author)
Descriptors: Academic Aspiration, Adolescent Attitudes, Adolescents, Black Students, Early Parenthood, Educational Opportunities, Females, High School Students, High Schools, Hispanic Americans, Longitudinal Studies, Predictor Variables, Pregnant Students, Racial Differences, Student Attitudes, Whites, Youth Problems
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Child Trends, Inc., Washington, DC.
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: National Longitudinal Survey of Youth