An overview of recent research on adolescent sexual activity, pregnancy, and parenthood is presented, with a focus on the dearth of knowledge concerning psychological precursors and consequences. Although the rate of teenage childbearing has decreased substantially this century, increasing rates of sexual activity, illegitimacy, and welfare receipt raise public concerns. New research is discussed that suggests that many negative outcomes previously ascribed to mothers' age are as much causes or correlates of teenage pregnancy as effects of it, although this claim is less substantiated regarding effects on children of teenage mothers. Literature on fathers and grandmothers is summarized, and suggestions are made for furthering this research. An overview is given of recent successes among intervention programs, and policy implications of the new federal welfare law are considered for teenage mothers and their children.
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