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As the Pendulum Swings: Teenage Childbearing and Social Concern

Frank F. Furstenberg, Jr.
Family Relations
Vol. 40, No. 2 (Apr., 1991), pp. 127-138
DOI: 10.2307/585470
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/585470
Page Count: 12
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As the Pendulum Swings: Teenage Childbearing and Social Concern
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Abstract

This article assesses the evidence for revisionist views of teenage childbearing. These theories suggest that the perception of teenage pregnancy as a growing social problem has been caused by the political agendas of certain interest groups; the consequences of early childbearing have been exaggerated; and that pregnancy among disadvantaged teens may be an adaptive response to poverty. The article first considers demographic patterns and fertility trends that point to why teenage pregnancy and childbearing was regarded as a growing problem in the 1970s. Next, the consequences of early childbearing are considered. Finally, the notion that early childbearing is the desired outcome of a rational choice is considered in light of survey and ethnographic data.

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