Teen Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Diseases Essay

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¶ … teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases has become one of the most common problems across many societies. As this problem continues to be prevalent, it affects every individual in the society since it not only affects a teenage girl but it also impacts her family and the entire society. According to the findings of research by the National Campaign to Prevent teen pregnancy, America has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy across the globe ("Curriculum Programs to Curb Teen Pregnancy," 2004). As a result of its high rate, the United States spend huge amounts of taxpayers' money of approximately $7 billion annually on this issue. Actually, the rate of teen pregnancy in this country is twice as much as that of Great Britain, four times than Germany and France, and ten times than Japan. Notably, many experts have conducted various studies throughout the years in efforts to determine the common cause of teen pregnancy and its effect on the society. In these studies, the experts have used some approaches to raise the issues and problems of teen pregnancy in the society.

Approaches in Examining Teen Pregnancy:

As previously mentioned, various experts have used several approaches in their attempts to examine the issue of teen pregnancy. The two most commonly used approaches are the adolescent and emerging adulthood approaches. Similar to other approaches, the two are mainly geared towards identifying the common cause of teenage pregnancy and the effects of this problem on the entire society. While the issue remains prevalent in the United States, many countries worldwide are also affected by the problem in their respective societies. The adolescence and emerging adulthood advances are regarded as cultural approaches in understanding dating, love, and sexuality among teenagers. Therefore, understanding these factors in the adolescence and emerging adulthood stages is crucial to obtaining information about the causes and effects of teen pregnancy.

Adolescence Approach:

The influence of adolescence stage in teen pregnancy is an issue that is complex due to various reasons that contribute to huge concerns. Actually, teen pregnancy is sometimes referred to as adolescent pregnancy since its pregnancy in girls at the age of 19 or below. There are several risk factors that contribute to the probability of adolescence pregnancy such as younger age, economic disadvantage, single or teen parents, poor school performance, and older male partners (Vorvick & Storck, 2011). Adolescence between the age of 12 years and 14 years are more likely to engage in unplanned sexual intercourse because they are more likely to be convinced into having sex.

Arnett (2004) analyzes the developmental patterns in dating among adolescence in which he states that many adolescent girls begin dating at the age of 12 or 13 years while their male counterparts start dating between 13 and 14 years. Based on various reports, approximately 20% of these teenagers say that they have engaged in sexual intercourse by the age of 15 years. The dating experience among adolescents in the United States tends to follow a four-step developmental sequence. First, adolescents within the same-gender groups go to location where they anticipate finding other-gender groups. Secondly, adolescents in America are sometimes involved in social gatherings like parties, planned by adults. Third, mixed-gender groups of adolescents plan to attend certain events together like movies. Fourth, adolescent couples start dating as pairs in various activities like concerts, dinners, or movies.

There are various reasons associated with dating among adolescents including recreation/fun and enjoyment, learning, status, companionship, intimacy, and courtship. Learning is a reason for adolescents dating since these individuals seek to become more skilled at dating interactions whereas status is a factor because adolescents seek to impress others based on who they date and how often they date. While companionship involves sharing pleasant activities with another individual, intimacy focuses on establishing a close relationship with another individual. On the other hand, courtship is a factor in adolescent dating as it involves seeking someone to have as a steady partner.

Emerging Adulthood Approach:

Emerging adulthood is one of the most commonly used approach in identifying the causes and effects of teen pregnancy in the society. This is primarily because most of the factors contributing to this problem are usually associated with this stage in an individual growth. Emerging adulthood is the period between adolescents and adulthood, which implies that emerging adults are people between adolescents and adults. They are usually older teens that are planning new path to maturity because transition to full adulthood (Whitehead, n.d.).

In today's society, these people have discovered new ways of defining adulthood through standards that are less tangible and more psychological. Emerging adults consider adulthood as being able to make autonomous decisions, becoming financially independent, and accepting responsibility for individual's actions. Fincham & Cui (2010, p. 64) state that emerging adulthood is a period of growth and transition in which the nature of change can take several various forms. In some cases, the nature of change can become the change itself, especially in consideration of satisfaction in romantic relationships.

As dating tends to change because of the transition of adolescents into emerging adulthood, emerging adulthood is a crucial period for gaining sexual experience since by the end of the period almost every individual has had sexual intercourse. At this stage, individuals tend to certain qualities they look for in the people they choose to date. During the period, males tend to follow the proactive script in which they initiate the date, decide the places they go to, control public domain, and initiate sexual contact. On the other hand, females adopt a reactive script approach where they focus on private domain, responding to the gestures from males, and responding to sexual initiatives from males.

Similarities in the Approaches in Relation to Teen Pregnancy:

The issue of teen pregnancy is associated to various risk factors that occur in both adolescence and emerging adults. The first category of similar risk factors among adolescents and emerging adults include short-term relations, minimal use of contraceptives, and multiple sexual partners ("Centers for Disease Control & Prevention," 2011, p. 416). For adolescents, most of the love relationships lack commitment or have relatively tentative commitment. The lack of long-term commitment contributes to increase in these risk factors among adolescents and make these relationships to be based on infatuation and romantic love. Based on analysis of the reasons for adolescents involvement in dating, these individuals are increasingly vulnerable to less use of contraceptives, have short-term relationships, and multiple sexual partners, which result in teen pregnancy. On the contrary, emerging adults are susceptible to these risk factors since this stage is considered as a period of gaining sexual experience.

The second major category of risk factors across the two approaches is that both adolescents and emerging adults contribute to the increase in teen pregnancy because of low socio-economic status and education, history of abuse, dysfunctional family, and behavioral problems. For adolescents and emerging adults, these factors, particularly low socio-economic status and poverty lessens school education and constructive communication with them (Kirby, 2002). As a result of the ensuing frustration among these individuals and the lack of education encourage them to get involved in sexual activities that result in teen pregnancies.

Differences in the Approaches in Relation to Teen Pregnancy:

While both the adolescents and emerging adults have similar risk factors that contribute to teen pregnancy, the approaches have different risk factors that contribute to the problem. One of the major differences is the minimal sexuality education for adults as compared to the sex education provided to young adults. Actually there have been huge controversies ad debates regarding the most appropriate type of sex education to be provided to adolescents. Some people suggest that adolescents should have comprehensive sexuality education whereas others propose that abstinence promotion is the best solution (Arnett, 2004). There has been a tendency… [end of preview; READ MORE]

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