CULTURAL FACTORS IN RISK FOR ADOLESCENT PREGNANCY
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Seventy-five sexually active women, ages 16 to 20, were studied to determine whether personality and demographic characteristics were similar for adolescents with the same pregnancy status but from different racial and cultural backgrounds. It was anticipated that this information would help identify those adolescents at greatest risk for teenage pregnancy and would help articulate the most appropriate prevention and intervention service needs in relation to the environment.;Data was collected from Black and Hispanic adolescents living in an inner city environment and from white adolescents living in small middle-class communities. Subjects from each environment were divided into the following categories: family planners who never had a prior pregnancy, family planners who had a previous abortion, adolescents who were pregnant for the first time and carrying to term, and adolescents who had a previous abortion and were pregnant again and carrying to term.;Each adolescent was assessed in the following dimensions: knowledge of birth control facts, stability of the nuclear family, level of aspiration, ego development, susceptibility to the influence of others, and feminine identity.;It was hypothesized that adolescents from different cultural environments would have similar personality and demographic characteristics provided that they had the same pregnancy status. The results indicated that regardless of ethnicity or environment, adolescents who carry to term in comparison to those who practice family planning had: lower levels of aspiration, often sustained the loss of a family member, and come from larger families. These groups also differed significantly in levels of ego development with the family planning groups functioning at the higher and more differentiated levels, and the full term groups operating at the more primitive levels.;Cultural factors appeared to play a role in the boyfriends' attitudes toward pregnancy. Adolescents from the inner city frequently reported that their boyfriends felt positive regarding their becoming or being pregnant while their counterparts from the small town communities expressed a negative attitude.