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Examining External and Internal Poverty as Antecedents of Teen Pregnancy

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Objectives: To identify antecedents of teen pregnancy.

Methods: Data from the National Education Longitudinal Study were analyzed. This data set allowed us to identify eighth-grade antecedents of teen pregnancy/childbearing.

Results: The variables that were found to be most predictive of later pregnancy were reflective of internal poverty (locus of control, subject's educational expectations, and confidence in graduating from high school) and external poverty (parents' highest education).

Conclusions: Prevention programs must begin before the eighth grade, instill an internal locus of control, promote academic achievement by enriching children's perception of personal life options for which an education is needed, empower children and their familial models, and prevent internal poverty.

Keywords: adolescent pregnancy

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: School of Human Environmental Science, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR. 2: Associate Professor, Educational Leadership, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR. 3: University Professor, Program in Health Science/Director, Health Education Projects Office, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR.

Publication date: July 1, 2004

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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