PSYCHOLOGICAL ISOLATION AS A CONTRIBUTION TO ADOLESCENT PREGNANCY RISK (PEER RELATIONS)
FISHLER, PRISCILLA H.
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Three hundred fifty adolescent girls, of an urban, lower socioeconomic background, between the ages of 12 and 20, were studied to investigate whether poor interpersonal relationships, with mother and with peers, had an impact on risk for pregnancy and motherhood during adolescence. The focus of the study was to compare girls perceiving negative relationship with mother and with peers to those perceiving positive relationships with mother and with peers on the following variables: risk for pregnancy, resolution of pregnancy, risk for repeat pregnancies, ego developmental level (using the Washington University Sentence Completion Test) and level of self-esteem (using the Texas Social Behavior Inventory).;It was hypothesized that subjects reporting poor interpersonal relationships would pose a greater risk factor than subjects reporting generally positive interpersonal relationships. It was also hypothesized that subjects who had poor relationships with their mothers would be less able to form positive relationships with peers during adolescence. Ego developmental level and self-esteem were also hypothesized to be lower for girls with negative interpersonal relationships thereby contributing to a greater likelihood of pregnancy risk.;The results indicated that relationships with mother, and particularly with peers significantly affects risk for pregnancy defined as "Ever" or "Never" pregnant. The more negative one's relationship with mother and/or peers, the more likely one is of becoming pregnant. Negative relationships with mother and/or negative relationships with peers also increased the likelihood of carrying the pregnancy to term. Further, low self-esteem within the context of a negative relationship with mother and/or peers further increased the likelihood of carrying to term. Ego developmental level was a mediating factor for incidence of pregnancy only within the context of a positive relationship with mother. Within these groups, lower levels of ego development increased the likelihood of pregnancy risk.;Implications for interventions were discussed promoting task groups that might temporarily fill in for low ego developmental levels and low levels of self-esteem. Psychotherapy was suggested for individuals involved in poor interpersonal relationships in order to deal with frustrated dependency needs.