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TEEN MOMS’ DAUGHTERS NOT BOUND TO FOLLOW SAME COURSE, STUDY SAYS

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"Although national survey data show that early childbearing is more common among children of teenage mothers, the new report suggests that it is far from inevitable," the report said.

In addition, the daughters who did not have babies during their teenage years "were dramatically more likely" than their mothers to have finished high schools, to want further education and to be employed, the study said.

"Most of the daughters in the study had graduated from high school, were employed or in school and had managed to avoid dependence on public assistance, despite the disadvantages they faced as children of teenage parents," the study said.

For the study, researchers interviewed the teenage mothers between 1966 and 1968 as part of an evaluation of Baltimore's health care program for adolescent mothers.

Follow-up interviews show the daughters of teenage mothers who first gave birth before age 19 were more likely to be school dropouts and more dependent on welfare.

In the first group of young mothers interviewed in the 1960s, 60 percent married "around the time of their child's birth," but only 14 percent of their teenage daughters were married when their babies were born, the study said.

Most of the first group of teenage mothers came from low-income families. Half were living in single-parent households. One-quarter were on welfare. Their parents' average educational level was 10th grade and most of their mothers had been teenage parents themselves, the study reported.

"In general, the first group of young mothers experienced considerable short-term setbacks because of their early childbearing, including having dropped out of school and having been unemployed," the study said.

"Over the long term, however, many of the women managed to return to school, get off welfare and find steady employment."

But the study added that "the minority of daughters who became second-generation teenage mothers appear more vulnerable to long-term dependence and less likely to overcome the disadvantages associated with early childbearing than were their mothers."

The study was published by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, an independent non-profit corporation for research, policy analysis and public education focusing on reproductive health issues.