University of Arizona study: The Effect(s) of Teen Pregnancy: Reconciling Theory, Methods, and Findings.

25 Jan

Moi has got plenty to say about hypocrites of the conservative persuasion, those who espouse family values, but don’t live up to them or who support corporate welfare while tossing out that old bromide that individuals must pull themselves up by their bootstraps even if they don’t have shoes.

Because of changes in family structure and the fact that many children are now being raised by single parents, who often lack the time or resources to care for them, we as a society must make children and education a priority, even in a time of lack. I know that many of the conservative persuasion will harp on about personal responsibility, yada, yada, yada. Moi promotes birth control and condoms, so don’t harp on that. Fact is children, didn’t ask to be born to any particular parent or set of parents.

Jonathan Cohn reports about an unprecedented experiment which occurred in Romanian orphanages in the New Republic article, The Two Year Window. There are very few experiments involving humans because of ethical considerations.

Nelson had traveled to Romania to take part in a cutting-edge experiment. It was ten years after the fall of the Communist dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu, whose scheme for increasing the country’s population through bans on birth control and abortion had filled state-run institutions with children their parents couldn’t support. Images from the orphanages had prompted an outpouring of international aid and a rush from parents around the world to adopt the children. But ten years later, the new government remained convinced that the institutions were a good idea—and was still warehousing at least 60,000 kids, some of them born after the old regime’s fall, in facilities where many received almost no meaningful human interaction. With backing from the MacArthur Foundation, and help from a sympathetic Romanian official, Nelson and colleagues from Harvard, Tulane, and the University of Maryland prevailed upon the government to allow them to remove some of the children from the orphanages and place them with foster families. Then, the researchers would observe how they fared over time in comparison with the children still in the orphanages. They would also track a third set of children, who were with their original parents, as a control group.

In the field of child development, this study—now known as the Bucharest Early Intervention Project—was nearly unprecedented. Most such research is performed on animals, because it would be unethical to expose human subjects to neglect or abuse. But here the investigators were taking a group of children out of danger. The orphanages, moreover, provided a sufficiently large sample of kids, all from the same place and all raised in the same miserable conditions. The only variable would be the removal from the institutions, allowing researchers to isolate the effects of neglect on the brain….

Drury, Nelson, and their collaborators are still learning about the orphans. But one upshot of their work is already clear. Childhood adversity can damage the brain as surely as inhaling toxic substances or absorbing a blow to the head can. And after the age of two, much of that damage can be difficult to repair, even for children who go on to receive the nurturing they were denied in their early years. This is a revelation with profound implication—and not just for the Romanian orphans.

APPROXIMATELY SEVEN MILLION American infants, toddlers, and preschoolers get care from somebody other than a relative, whether through organized day care centers or more informal arrangements, according to the Census Bureau. And much of that care is not very good. One widely cited study of child care in four states, by researchers in Colorado, found that only 8 percent of infant care centers were of “good” or “excellent” quality, while 40 percent were “poor.” The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has found that three in four infant caregivers provide only minimal cognitive and language stimulation—and that more than half of young children in non-maternal care receive “only some” or “hardly any” positive caregiving. http://www.tnr.com/article/economy/magazine/97268/the-two-year-window?page=0,0&passthru=YzBlNDJmMmRkZTliNDgwZDY4MDhhYmIwMjYyYzhlMjg

Because the ranks of poor children are growing in the U.S., this study portends some grave challenges not only for particular children, but this society and this country. Adequate early learning opportunities and adequate early parenting is essential for proper development in children.

Science Daily reported in Teen pregnancy is not an isolated issue:

In a nationwide study, University of Arizona sociologists Christina Diaz and Jeremy E. Fiel found that the negative effect of young motherhood on educational attainment and earnings is not limited to those from disadvantaged backgrounds and actually is most significant among better-off teenagers.

Diaz and Fiel analyzed a subset of the Child and Young Adult Cohorts of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, which launched in 1986 to analyze the lives of more than 10,000 American youth.

Their findings of the subset — more than 3,600 young women — confirm existing literature that most young mothers have lower educational attainment and earnings overall compared with those who delay having children.

However, they also found that the impact of early fertility on one’s educational attainment and wages depended on a woman’s personal attributes, experiences and factors such as their household income and familial expectations around family planning…

Diaz’s and Fiel’s findings are detailed in the co-authored paper “The Effect(s) of Teen Pregnancy: Reconciling Theory, Methods and Findings,” which was published in a January 2016 issue of Demography, a peer-reviewed journal. Fiel is a UA assistant professor of sociology.

For the investigation, Diaz and Fiel analyzed survey results from two groups: individuals who became pregnant and had children, and others who had yet to do so.
Diaz and Fiel wanted to understand variation in the effects of early fertility among women with differing likelihoods of teen pregnancy and childbearing. For both groups, they analyzed high school graduation rates, rates of college attendance and completion, and also earnings when respondents were between ages 25 and 35.

Some of Diaz’s and Fiel’s findings confirmed other existing research indicating that pregnant teenagers have more disadvantaged backgrounds, fewer academic skills, more behavior problems and delinquency, and lower feelings of self-worth.

“By the time a young woman becomes pregnant, there are already factors from her socioeconomic background that influence her experience,” Diaz said. “To that end, it is not necessarily the pregnancy itself that results in negative consequences. And for someone who is comparatively better off, they already have tools to succeed.”

Interestingly, it was those better-off teens for whom the consequences of an early pregnancy were most severe. The negative effect on earning a bachelor’s degree was twice as large among better-off teens compared to those who were less advantaged.
Diaz and Fiel found evidence suggesting that young women in families where early fertility was more common, and who had stronger familial relationships and support, may have experienced less stress transitioning into motherhood.

Such findings reveal the problem with assuming that all women see similar outcomes when having children at a younger age, Diaz and Fiel said….. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160121150119.htm

Citation:

Teen pregnancy is not an isolated issue
Socioeconomic disadvantage may reduce the effect young motherhood has on how successful a person is academically, and also what wages can be expected in the future
Date: January 21, 2016

Source: University of Arizona

Summary:
Researchers made a telling discovery: Young motherhood has different consequences for different women, depending on socioeconomic and other factors.

Journal Reference:
1. Christina J. Diaz, Jeremy E. Fiel. The Effect(s) of Teen Pregnancy: Reconciling Theory, Methods, and Findings. Demography, 2016; DOI: 10.1007/s13524-015-0446-6
Here is the press release from the University of Arizona:
UA Sociologists: Teen Pregnancy Not an Isolated Issue
Christina Diaz and Jeremy E. Fiel found that socioeconomic disadvantage may reduce the effect young motherhood has on how successful a person is academically, and also what wages can be expected in the future.

Here is the press release from the University of Arizona:

La Monica Everett-Haynes, University Relations – Communications

January 20, 2016

Resources for the Media

Extra Info

Christina Diaz’s and Jeremy E. Fiel’s research was funded by multiple agencies and organizations, including the Ford Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship and the Center of Demography and Ecology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

In a nationwide study, University of Arizona sociologists Christina Diaz and Jeremy E. Fiel found that the negative effect of young motherhood on educational attainment and earnings is not limited to those from disadvantaged backgrounds and actually is most significant among better-off teenagers.Diaz and Fiel analyzed a subset of the Child and Young Adult Cohorts of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, which launched in 1986 to analyze the lives of more than 10,000 American youth.

Their findings of the subset — more than 3,600 young women — confirm existing literature that most young mothers have lower educational attainment and earnings overall compared with those who delay having children.

However, they also found that the impact of early fertility on one’s educational attainment and wages depended on a woman’s personal attributes, experiences and factors such as their household income and familial expectations around family planning.

“It is important to think about the ongoing debate about the causal relationship between teen pregnancy and attainment,” said Diaz, an assistant professor in the UA School of Sociology.

“Despite all of our methods and studies, we (as a research community) haven’t nailed down the effect of teenage pregnancy. So, we wanted to take a step back and think, ‘Why might there be divergent findings?'”

Diaz’s and Fiel’s findings are detailed in the co-authored paper “The Effect(s) of Teen Pregnancy: Reconciling Theory, Methods and Findings,” which was published in a January 2016 issue of Demography, a peer-reviewed journal. Fiel is a UA assistant professor of sociology.

For the investigation, Diaz and Fiel analyzed survey results from two groups: individuals who became pregnant and had children, and others who had yet to do so.
Diaz and Fiel wanted to understand variation in the effects of early fertility among women with differing likelihoods of teen pregnancy and childbearing. For both groups, they analyzed high school graduation rates, rates of college attendance and completion, and also earnings when respondents were between ages 25 and 35.

Some of Diaz’s and Fiel’s findings confirmed other existing research indicating that pregnant teenagers have more disadvantaged backgrounds, fewer academic skills, more behavior problems and delinquency, and lower feelings of self-worth.

“By the time a young woman becomes pregnant, there are already factors from her socioeconomic background that influence her experience,” Diaz said. “To that end, it is not necessarily the pregnancy itself that results in negative consequences. And for someone who is comparatively better off, they already have tools to succeed.”

Interestingly, it was those better-off teens for whom the consequences of an early pregnancy were most severe. The negative effect on earning a bachelor’s degree was twice as large among better-off teens compared to those who were less advantaged.
Diaz and Fiel found evidence suggesting that young women in families where early fertility was more common, and who had stronger familial relationships and support, may have experienced less stress transitioning into motherhood.

Such findings reveal the problem with assuming that all women see similar outcomes when having children at a younger age, Diaz and Fiel said.

The two affirmed in their paper that “women differentially respond to motherhood,” later noting: “Specifically, we argue that negative, trivial or positive effects could be simultaneously occurring among different types of women in the population.”
While nationwide data indicates that teen pregnancies among women ages 15-19 has beenon a steady decline since the 1970s, the World Bank reports the nation still maintains some of the highest rates on the globe. Based on 2014 figures, the financial institution reported that the U.S. had more births per 1,000 women in that age bracket than those that include the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France and Spain.

From a policy perspective, the findings can help to better identify how to support teen mothers who need it most, Diaz said.

“There are a lot of campaigns that set out to reduce pregnancy rates in disadvantaged communities that are based on the belief that there are still negative causal effects of teen pregnancy,” Diaz said.

The analysis, however, suggested that teen pregnancy prevention in isolation of other life challenges is likely to be ineffective for disadvantaged women. Such campaigns may be beneficial only for more advantaged women, Diaz said.

“There are all these underlying issues that happened before pregnancy — attending lower-quality schools, living in poor neighborhoods, living in high poverty contexts — so that teen pregnancy is just one issue,” she said.

Children in Poverty provides good data on the types of households most likely to be poor. Their findings for single parent households are:

Family structure continues to be strongly related to whether or not children are poor.
• In 2007, children living in households headed by single mothers were more than five times as likely as
children living in households headed by married parents to be living in poverty—42.9 percent
compared with 8.5 percent. (See Figure 1 )
• For non-Hispanic white children, the poverty rate in 2007 was 32.3 percent for children in single mother
households compared with 4.7 percent for children in married households.
• Similarly for black children, the poverty rate was 50.2 percent compared with 11 percent.
• For Hispanic children, the poverty rate was 51.4 percent compared with 19.3 percent.
• For Asian children, the poverty rate was 32 percent compared with 9.7 percent. http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d14/tables/dt14_102.60.asp

Families headed by single parents face economic challenges that are mitigated by two incomes.

Moi has never met an illegitimate child, she has met plenty of illegitimate parents. People that are so ill-prepared for the parent role that had they been made responsible for an animal, PETA would picket their house. We are at a point in society where we have to say don’t have children you can’t care for. There is no quick, nor easy fix for the children who start behind in life because they are the product of two other people’s choice, whether an informed choice or not. All parents should seek positive role models for their children. For single mothers who are parenting boys, they must seek positive male role models to be a part of their son’s life. Boys and girls of all ages should think before they procreate and men should give some thought about what it means to be a father before they become baby daddy.

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