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CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION 1.1 PROBLEM STATEMENT Adolescent pregnancy has long been a worldwide social and educational concern for the developed, developing and underdeveloped countries. Many countries continue to experience high incidence of teenage pregnancy despite the intervention strategies that have been put in place. In 1990 approximately 530,000 teenagers in the United States became pregnant, 51% of whom gave birth (Coley & Chase-Lansdale, 1998).

Available literature suggests that fertility rates in developing countries have declined in the past two decades (Dickson, 2002; Caldwell & Caldwell, 2002). It is argued that due to changing socio-political circumstances, women have reassessed the timing of childbirth and the role of
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Prevailing societal norms and values as determined by social, economic, cultural, psychological and developmental factors have influence on the behaviour of its youth. There is increasing evidence that adolescents are influenced by their environment, therefore reproductive behaviour might be influenced by community characteristics (National Population Unit, 2000).

Much research has been done on factors that predispose girls to falling pregnant in their adolescent years (Furstenberg, Brooks-Gunn & Morgan, 1987; Dryfoos, 1990). Researchers have found a number of personal, family and social factors, which are often -5-

associated with teenage pregnancy (Dryfoos, 1990). The high incidence of teenage pregnancy has become a major societal and educational concern, as it seems to perpetuate poverty and low levels of education (Furstenberg, Brooks-Gunn, & Morgan, 1987).

Consequently, the majority of researchers have focused on socio-economic predictors and consequences of teenage pregnancy. Although knowledge on social factors has expanded in the past decade, research on the psychological effects of teenage pregnancy has been largely ignored. The current study seeks to explore the impact of pregnancy during adolescence, on the psychological processes. There is still a need to understand factors within an individual, which put an adolescent at greater risk of falling pregnant and how development
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