Does father warmth/involvement predict intergenerational teenage pregnancy and adolescent risky sexual behavior?
Previous studies highlight many disadvantages for adolescent mothers who experience an early pregnancy. Among these disadvantages is the high probability of single-parenthood and the likelihood that their children may experience early pregnancies as well, i.e., intergenerational teenage pregnancy. The implications of the Balance Theory suggest that the primary source of warmth for adolescent girls comes from their fathers. Adolescent girls who grow up in father-absent homes may seek this missing warmth outside of the home in intimate sexual relationships. Using data from the Mobile Youth and Poverty Study (MYPS), single mothers who reported giving birth between the ages of 12-19 and their 15-year-old daughters were chosen for the current study. It was hypothesized that adolescent girls in father-absent homes would be more likely to experience an adolescent pregnancy and engage in more risky sexual behavior. Although a small portion of the sample actually experienced an early pregnancy (n=19), levels of father warmth significantly predicted whether adolescent girls had initiated sexual intercourse by age 15 as well as frequency and recency of the sexual intercourse.