Exploring risk factors that contribute to teenage pregnancy

Teenage pregnancy continues to be a social problem today due to its continuing rise that has an adverse impact on the teenager, their families, taxpayers and society as a whole. Many teenaged girls frequently encounter numerous risks and challenges from family, community and societal influences. This research project examined risk factors associated with teenage pregnancy among women residing in Richmond and San Pablo, California. The participants in this study were required to be eighteen years and older and had children as teenagers. The major findings reported by the sixty participants interviewed were: 1) they reported that teenage pregnancy was normal and acceptable in their community and had a positive reaction when discovering they were pregnant; 2) they had general sex education prior to their early pregnancies; 3) they reported living in disadvantaged neighborhoods that contributed to having kids at a young age; and 4) some trends appeared when the sample was divided by ethnicity that suggested a need for further research in this area. Implications for social work practice are included.