Online Program

“mama's baby, papa's maybe.” is teen pregnancy and parenting only a woman's burden?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 9:06 a.m. - 9:18 a.m.

Leah Maddock, MPH, Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Noushin Berdjis, BA, Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco,, San Francisco, CA
Diana Lara, MD, MS., Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, Institute for Health Policy Studies, San Francisco, CA
Abigail Arons, MPH, Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Claire Brindis, Dr. P.H, M.P.H., University of California, San Francisco, Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health /PRL Institute for Health Policy Studies, San Francisco, CA
Young women bear the brunt of teen pregnancy and parenting consequences. While studies have shown an adult father's involvement positively affects the physical, social, and cognitive development of children, as well as the adult mother's well-being, there is less research regarding the role, life outcomes and perspectives of teen fathers. We conducted 22 single-sex focus groups with 186 male and female youth and interviews with 94 adult stakeholders in four California counties about their opinions of teen pregnancy and parenting. A small proportion of youth and adult respondents had children as teens. Among all adults and youth, respondents overwhelmingly agreed that teen pregnancy is the mother's burden. While participants cited the obligatory educational, social, and familial changes for young pregnant women, they described parenting as a choice for young men. “[A]ll he has to do is just say, ‘Oh, that's not my baby.'” Fathers remaining involved in the lives of the mother and baby was seen as remarkable. “That's like, a rare occasion, that the dad actually stays.” If a father stays involved, respondents felt it was more likely to provide support for the baby, than to remain in a relationship with the mother. Participants agreed that it is rare for a young woman to avoid her parenting responsibilities, in which case the maternal grandparents often take on the parenting and financial responsibilities. Findings demonstrate the need for pregnancy prevention efforts and youth programs to address male responsibility, fatherhood, gender norms, and the unique support needs of teenage fathers.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify current parenting and relationship patterns among teenage parents Analyze the attitudes of study participants about teenage fathers. Discuss the importance of young fathers in their children’s and partner’s lives Identify ways to incorporate male responsibility, fatherhood, gender norms into youth programming This abstract is submitted as part of a pre-arranged panel entitled,"The California Hot Spots Study: Insights into neighborhood-level factors associated with teenage pregnancy."

Keyword(s): Adolescents, Pregnancy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the study coordinator, collected and analyzed the data.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.