Date of Award

1997

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Lenore S. Brantley

Second Advisor

Donna J. Habenicht

Third Advisor

Jimmy Kijai

Abstract

Problem. This study was conducted to examine some of the factors that are related to teenage pregnancy in St. Kitts-Nevis. It focused on the relationship between teenage pregnancy and father absence/presence, intergenerational teenage pregnancy, childhood sexual abuse, and domestic violence. A young girl's view of her relationship with both parents, the self-esteem of respondents, and their level of attendance and participation in church-related activities were also studied.

Method. Two instruments were incorporated into the questionnaire administered to females in St. Kitts and Nevis between the ages of 12 and 21, some of whom had experienced a pregnancy, and others who had not. These groups were called pregnant and nonpregnant groups. The Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory (SEI) was used to measure self-esteem. The Factors Related to Teenage Pregnancy Questionnaire gathered data pertinent to the research questions and other demographic information. Of the 319 respondents, approximately 71% came from St. Kitts and 29% from Nevis.

Results. Significant differences were found between both groups on four of the eight variables in the Attitude to Father cluster, and on three of the eight on the Attitude to Mother cluster, with the nonpregnant group giving more positive evaluations of their relationships with parents than the other group. No significant relationship was established between father presence/absence and teenage pregnancy and none was found between teenage pregnancyand intergenerational teenage pregnancy. Significant differences between groups were found on two of the six variables in the Domestic Violence cluster, and a significant relationship was found between childhood sexual abuse and early pregnancy. All five variables in the Attitude to Church factor produced significant differences, but no significant difference was found between the self-esteem scores of both groups.

Conclusions. Nonpregnant respondents evaluated their relationships with father and mother more positively than their counterparts. Both groups' experience of father absence/presence was comparable. The data suggest that intragenerational influences on teenage pregnancy are stronger than intergenerational patterns. Domestic violence occurs more frequently in the experience of the pregnant group, as did childhood sexual abuse in which case grandfathers and fathers were the least likely perpetrators and uncles and brothers were the main perpetrators. The nonpregnant group placed higher value on their religious experience, but levels of self-esteem were comparable for both groups.

Subject Area

Teenage pregnancy--St. Kitts and Nevis, Pregnant schoolgirls--St. Kitts and Nevis

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