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Young, Poor, and Pregnant


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No social, economic or educational intervention can prevent teen pregnancy unless the possibility of a better life is rooted in their psychology and their dreams, suggests Musick in this definitive study. The author, a developmental psychologist and vice-chairman of the Illinois statewide Ounce of Prevention Fund--an initiative for disadvantaged youths--demonstrates that pregnancy is the easiest response to developmental challenges facing an adolescent girl, providing love, status and identity, at least for a while. Synthesizing previous research and the experiences of young mothers vividly reported in journal entries here, Musick also tackles such questions as whether sexual abuse leads to early motherhood. The way to prevent teen pregnancy or improve young mothers' lives, she concludes, is for the nation to create caring institutions that foster the individual's readiness for productive adulthood. (June)

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