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In the United States, approximately 750,000 to 850,000 teenage females become pregnant annually (Guttmacher Institute, 2006). In 1990, 51% of pregnant teenagers became teen mothers (Coley, 1998). Teenage pregnancy has become a big concern in the United States and, therefore, many research studies have been done regarding the development of children who have adolescent or teenage mothers. These studies focus on maltreatment, physical, cognitive, social, medical, psychosocial, and behavioral problems of children of adolescent mothers when compared to the children of older mothers. Some studies have contradictory results, but most indicate that children of adolescent mothers are at increased risk for maltreatment, physical, cognitive, social, medical, psychosocial, and behavioral problems. This paper focuses on the causes of the developmental problems of children with adolescent mothers.
The results of researchers indicate that maltreatment, including physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect is more common is situations where there is a teenage mother than an older mother. The physically abused children are at a greater risk of being abused by someone the child knows, including, the mother or father, mother’s boyfriend, or another member of the family (Stier, et al., 1993). The sexually abused children are also more likely to be abused by a relative or in some cases a neighbor of friend of the family (Stier, et al.). Sexually abused children are less likely to be abused by his biological parents (Stier, et al.). Neglect of a child often is the cause for the frequent changes in the caretaker of the child. Children of adolescent mothers are 4 times as likely to be removed from homes of caretakers (Stier, et al.). Studies indicate that there are a number of reasons why children are removed from the care of adolescent mothers, including abuse of the child’s brother or sister, history of abuse, inability of the mother to provide the child with a safe living environment,...
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