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Adolescent Females: Their Sexual Partners and the Fathers of Their Children

Irma T. Elo, Rosalind Berkowitz King and Frank F. Furstenberg, Jr.
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 61, No. 1 (Feb., 1999), pp. 74-84
DOI: 10.2307/353884
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/353884
Page Count: 11
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Adolescent Females: Their Sexual Partners and the Fathers of Their Children
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Abstract

This study examines age differences among adolescent females, the fathers of their children, and their first sexual partners, as well as the girl's relationship to her first partner. It uses data from Vital Statistics, the National Maternal and Infant Health Survey, and the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth. We investigate the potential impact of statutory rape laws on teen fertility and the initiation of sexual activity. We find that age differences between teen mothers and the fathers of their children follow historic norms. We further show that one may draw misleading conclusions about the extent to which teen girls engage in sexual activity with older men if conclusions are based simply on data on births. Finally, our demonstration of the potential effects of statutory rape laws on teen births and the age pattern of first intercourse suggests that even successful enforcement of these laws is unlikely to lead to substantial reductions in teen childbearing.

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