Adolescent Pregnancy and Early Sexual Onset

  • Laurie Schwab Zabin
Part of the Advances in Clinical Child Psychology book series (ACCP, volume 13)


Adolescent childbearing, however common in the United States today, is not a single phenomenon but the end product of a series of behaviors, undertaken in a societal context in which postponement of parenthood until after school completion and marriage is seen as normative. Each behavior—sexual onset, contraception, conception, and childbearing— requires a decision (conscious or unconscious) that, in different cultural groups, is differently constrained by custom or sanctions. For moral, economic, and/or social reasons, all cultural groups appear to see a similar pattern of behavior as optimal: completed schooling, employment, marriage, and childbearing. However, the strength of that normative ordering differs with the perceived rewards of conforming to it and with the perceived penalties of departing from it.


Sexual Behavior Prenatal Care Adolescent Mother Sexual Initiation Sexual Script 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laurie Schwab Zabin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Population DynamicsJohns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public HealthBaltimoreUSA

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