It is possible to know if teen males will live with their future children, a new research suggests. A young teen's attitude toward risky sex, pregnancy and birth control could predict fatherhood patterns.
For years, scientists investigated the views of young women on motherhood in an effort to reduce teen pregnancy. Researchers from the Northwestern University, however, conducted one of the first reproductive health studies focusing on men and fatherhood.
Sexual Behavior, Birth Control And Pregnancy
The team interviewed 10,253 male teenagers and young adults. Participants were asked to answer certain statements like, "If you had sexual intercourse, your friends respect you more" or "It wouldn't be all that bad if you got someone pregnant at this time in your life."
After 20 years, the researchers followed up with these men to compare their past responses to whether they had a child, if they are living with the child and their age when they got the mother of the kids pregnant.
More Concerned Men Lived With Their Kids
Males who are less concerned about risky sex were 30 percent less likely to live with their child while those who felt it wouldn't matter if they got a young woman pregnant had 20 percent greater chance of becoming a non-resident father.
Young males, who understood the efficacy of birth control like its pros and cons, are 28 percent less likely to become a non-resident father. This suggests that sex education among teen males is vital to address teen pregnancy and teens becoming fathers at a very young age.
"We can intervene so these young men don't go on to become teen fathers and are less likely to become non-resident fathers," Dr. Craig Garfield, associate professor in pediatrics at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said.
"That's a role the school system and health care workers can play when seeing young men for physicals. Together we can help young men think about their futures," he added.
Teen Pregnancy By The Numbers
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that about 16 million girls aged 15 to 19 years and about 1 million girls under the age of 15 give birth each year. Another 3 million girls undergo unsafe abortions every year.
In the United States, a total of 273,105 babies were born to women aged 15 to 19 years in 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports.
Photo: Christian Scheja | Flickr