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NCJ Number: 221223 Find in a Library
Title: Adolescent Expectations and Desires About Marriage and Parenthood
Journal: Journal of Adolescence  Volume:30  Issue:6  Dated:December 2007  Pages:943-963
Author(s): Robert D. Plotnick
Date Published: December 2007
Page Count: 21
Sponsoring Agency: Andrew W Mellon Foundation
New York, NY 10021
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The study analyzed adolescents’ expectations and desires about marriage and parenthood, including unwed parenthood.
Abstract: Three family context variables: gender, parental education, and parental expectations for their children’s educational attainment showed consistent relationships with adolescents’ expected and desired ages of marriage and parenthood. Race/ethnicity showed strong relationships with expectations and desires about age of marriage and nonmarital childbearing. Adolescents with higher opportunity costs such as better grades and higher expectations for their schooling expect and desire marriage and parenthood at older ages. Higher grades were also associated with lower chances of expecting and desiring a nonmarital birth. Significant relationships between locus of control and the outcomes provided empirical support for the social-psychological element of the framework in that adolescents with a stronger internal locus of control expected to be older when they become parents and were less likely to expect nonmarital parenthood. Racial/ethnic differences in marriage and nonmarital childbearing were significant; the mean desired age for marriage was lowest among non-Hispanic Whites and Hispanics, followed by Asian-Americans, African-Americans, and Native-Americans. Mean expected and desired ages of parenthood for the sample’s non-Hispanic Whites were slightly higher than the actual mean age of first birth. African-Americans’ and Hispanics’ mean expected and desired ages of parenthood were substantially higher than the actual mean age of parenthood. African-Americans were most likely to expect and desire a nonmarital birth, followed by Hispanics, and then non-Hispanics Whites. Adolescents with a stronger internal locus of control expect to be older when they become parents and are less likely to expect nonmarital parenthood. A survey was administered to 1,156 high school seniors in a racially and ethnically diverse metropolitan public school district in the Pacific Northwest. Compared to the national teenage population, the sample had smaller proportions of Hispanics and non-Hispanic Whites, much higher proportions of Asians and Native-Americans, and similar proportions of African-Americans. Tables, references, appendix
Main Term(s): Adolescent attitudes; Ethnic groups
Index Term(s): Adolescent pregnancy; Parent and child education; Parental attitudes; Parental influence
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