Loss-compensation behavior as an antecedent to early childbearing
Fast, Jonathan David
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It was hypothesized that teen mothers and their partners experience more events involving premature loss than do older primiparas (hypothesis "a"); or that they experience them earlier (hypothesis "b") or more frequently (hypothesis "c"); and that the rate of occurrence of these events might be used to help identify them prior to primiparity (the bearing of the first child).;The study was conducted with a convenience sample of 96 early primiparas ranging from 14 to 27 years of age, with a mean age of 19.5 and a standard deviation of 2.37 years. A purposive sample of 25 non-primiparous females of similar age, socio-economic status, family structure, and academic achievement was chosen as a comparison group. They ranged in age from 15 to 19 with a mean of 17.31 and a standard deviation of 1.18 years.;A cross-sectional, correlational design was employed. Based on a literature review, five categories of premature loss events were identified. A questionnaire was created to test for these events. The Nowicki-Strickland Locus of Control scale was administered to determine if primiparas who were more influenced by their partners would have a more external locus of control. The Index of Parent and Peer Attachment, maternal module was administered to ascertain whether teen mothers had poorer attachment with their own mothers than non-primiparous teens.;Primiparas under 16 and their partners reported a mean of 3.92 loss events (n = 25), compared to a mean of 2.30 for those above 16 (n = 71) supporting hypothesis "a", with a significance level of p = .000. The findings did not support hypotheses "b" and "c". The non-primiparous comparison group showed a higher rate of loss events than the study group.;The findings suggest that the detection of loss-compensation behavior may be useful in identifying teen dyads at risk of early primiparity, and that the dyad must be the primary unit of study in teen pregnancy research. The loss-compensation perspective employed in this study also suggests an explanation for why youth development programs are more likely to reduce early childbearing than abstinence-only education, and programs that seek to change values.
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