Social Barriers Faced by Adolescent Parents and Their Children

Howard Spivak, Michael Weitzman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pregnancy and childbearing are well recognized as having significant, long-term consequences for teenagers. Recent literature documents an array of negative outcomes for children born to adolescents, with a range of factors identified as contributing to the problems observed in these children. These include (1) the characteristics of those teenagers most likely to become parents, (2) the social and economic consequences of early childbearing, (3) the increased biologic vulnerability of children born to teenagers, and (4) the nature of parenting by teenagers. It has been acknowledged that adolescent parents tend to come from high-risk families, have poor academic achievement, and live in our most disadvantaged communities and therefore, biologic, economic, and behavioral factors contribute to the increased likelihood of teenagers having children who are vulnerable to physical and developmental problems. Teenaged parents face many obstacles to economic and social success, and these further influence the environment in which their children grow up. Adolescents also experience many difficulties in adjusting to parenthood and display a range of suboptimal parenting practices. Whereas some of these factors appear highly resistant to change, others have clear clinical, programmatic, and policy implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1500-1504
Number of pages5
JournalJAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association
Issue number11
StatePublished - Sep 18 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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