Differential social evaluation of pregnant teens, teen mothers and teen fathers by university students

Int J Adolesc Youth. 2015 Jan 2;20(1):1-16. doi: 10.1080/02673843.2014.963630. Epub 2014 Oct 1.


Youth may be particularly attuned to social evaluation during the teen years with implications for physical and mental health. Negative attitudes and stereotypes constitute an important type of social evaluative threat. Pregnant and parenting teens not only encounter challenges associated with their early transition to parenthood, but also are confronted with unfavourable attitudes of others. A university sample of 255 men and women responded to surveys targeting their feelings and beliefs about pregnant teens, teen mothers and teen fathers. Teen mothers were generally perceived more positively than pregnant teens who were perceived more positively compared to teen fathers. Social evaluations were generally unrelated to respondents' sex or race, but respondents who had contact with a friend or family member who had experienced a teen pregnancy were selectively more positive, as were freshmen compared to seniors. Risks attributed to early childbearing may be exacerbated by negative social evaluations.

Keywords: attitudes; social evaluation; stereotypes; teen fathers; teen pregnancy and parenting.