Link Between Pregnancy, Dropping Out Disputed

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

Teenagers who become mothers while enrolled in high school are no more likely to become dropouts than their childless classmates, the results of a new study suggest.

But dropouts who later become mothers are half as likely as childless dropouts to complete high school eventually, the report said.

About one-half of all teenagers who drop out eventually re-enroll in high school or a diploma-equivalency program, the researchers said.

The findings of the national study, which tracked the schooling and childbirth patterns of more than 5,400 young women over a seven-year period, call into question an underlying assumption of many dropout-prevention programs--that female teenagers are prone to leave school when they become pregnant.

According to the report, most dropouts who became mothers gave birth more than nine months after they left school. As a result, the researchers said, most female dropouts are not leaving school due to impending motherhood.

Other Determinants

More likely determinants of whether a female becomes a dropout, the report said, are whether she comes from a family with low educational attainment, is enrolled in classes that do not prepare her for college, or has begun to smoke and drink at a young age.

"The underlying assumption in many public policies and programs developed for adolescents is that young mothers would fare as well as their childless counterparts if only they would delay their first birth," the report's authors said. "Results from this study show this to be a seriously oversimplified assumption."

The study, which was conducted by researchers from Columbia University and Johns Hopkins University, was presented late last week at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Effects of Abortion

The study's findings follow on the heels of a more narrowly focused study done by other researchers from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.

In a study published in the November/December issue of Family Planning Perspectives, the researchers found that two years after having an abortion, black inner-city teenagers who had undergone the precedure were more likely to stay in school than their peers who decided to give birth. (See Education Week, Feb. 7, 1990.)--ef

Vol. 09, Issue 22

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories

Viewed

Emailed

Recommended

Commented

Sponsor Insights

Free Ebook: How to Implement a Coding Program in Schools

Successful Intervention Builds Student Success

Effective Ways to Support Students with Dyslexia

Stop cobbling together your EdTech

Integrate Science and ELA with Informational Text

Can self-efficacy impact growth for ELLs?

Disruptive Tech Integration for Meaningful Learning

Building Community for Social Good

5 Resources on the Power of Interoperability from Unified Edtech

New campaign for UN World Teachers Day

5 Game-Changers in Today’s Digital Learning Platforms

Hiding in Plain Sight - 7 Common Signs of Dyslexia in the Classroom

The research: Reading Benchmark Assessments

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

All Students Are Language Learners: The Imagine Learning Language Advantage™

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

How to Support All Students with Equitable Pathways

2019 K-12 Digital Content Report

3-D Learning & Assessment for K–5 Science

Climate Change, LGBTQ Issues, Politics & Race: Instructional Materials for Teaching Complex Topics

Closing the Science Achievement Gap

Evidence-based Coaching: Key Driver(s) of Scalable Improvement District-Wide

Advancing Literacy with Large Print

Research Sheds New Light on the Reading Brain

Tips for Supporting English Learners Through Personalized Approaches

Student Engagement Lessons from 3 Successful Districts

Response to Intervention Centered on Student Learning

The Nonnegotiable Attributes of Effective Feedback

SEE MORE Insights >