Teen Moms Still Want College Degrees, Study Finds
Pregnant at 16? Poof! There goes your future. You obviously care more about changing diapers than earning a college degree.
Obviously? Not so fast.
Researchers at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island say that's not so. They interviewed 257 pregnant teens who visited the hospital's primary care center over the past two years and found 57 percent of them had aspirations that required at least a four-year degree.
They want to go to college. The question is, with their new responsibilities, how do they do it?
Maureen G. Phipps, interim chief of obstetrics and gynecology at the hospital, tells e! Science News that pregnant teens need help achieving their goals.
"The high proportion of adolescents intending to continue their education and pursue careers requiring college emphasizes the importance of both teen pregnancy prevention programs and programs that aid parenting teens," Phipps tells the website. "In addition, counseling and support programs focused on pregnant adolescents should incorporate practical information on how to continue their education and their pursuit of a career following their pregnancy."
Phipps and her fellow researchers set out to find the connection between girls' career goals and whether or not they had intended to get pregnant. Most said their pregnancies were unplanned.
"What we discovered is that career aspirations were not significantly associated with planning the pregnancy or emotional readiness for pregnancy and parenting," Phipps tells e! Science News.
Among the girls who didn't want to go to college, 15 percent said they wanted to get pregnant, and 10 percent reported they were actively trying get pregnant for some time.
Of those with college plans, 17 percent said they wanted to get pregnant, and 14 percent said they had been actively trying to conceive.
The average age of the girls in the survey was 16.8. At least 70 percent had never been pregnant before. The majority (46 percent) were Hispanic.
"Although educational achievement is lower for teen mothers, their aspirations do not necessarily differ from those of teens who do not become pregnant during adolescence," Phipps tells e! Science News.
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