Date of Award

1998

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Sociology

Advisor

Sandra L. Caron

Second Committee Member

Marc Baranowski

Third Committee Member

Barbara Howard

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the factors that bring teenage girls to family planning clinics for pregnancy tests. This study focused on those teens requesting pregnancy tests to investigate the circumstances surrounding their concern that they may be pregnant. A total of 116 teenage girls, between the ages of 13 and 19 completed the 21 item questionnaire. While the results of this study did support previous research showing that teens are using birth control, results found correct and consistent use to be a problem. While most teenage girls reported that they use condoms (73%), over half did not use them every time. The number one reason given for why a teenage girl was not using a method of birth control or not using it every time was, "I didn’t plan to have sex." This study found that 60% of these teenagers had had a previous pregnancy test; in fact over half had been to a family planning clinic. While some researchers have suggested that a negative pregnancy test visit is a great time for counseling and education, these results would suggest that this has not been the case for these teens. When asked about partner involvement, the results supported previous work which found that teens plan to involve their partner in their pregnancy decision. However, it is not clear what the reality will be for these girls since previous research indicates that teen mothers are relying on welfare - not their partner - to support their children. Overall, the results of this study suggest that the rates of risky sexual behavior among these teens is high. Implications for family planning workers and others working with this population are discussed.

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