Peer Pressure & Teenage Pregnancy

by Laura Agadoni
Teenagers can feel peer pressure to have sex.

Teenagers can feel peer pressure to have sex.

Teenager peer pressure is real. Many teens engage in unhealthy activities just so that their peers will notice them or so that they may fit in. Peer pressure to engage in sexual activity is so common, a variety of terms refer to the behavior, such as "hooking up," "booty calls" or referring to someone as "a friend with benefits."

About Teenage Pregnancy

The teenage birth rate is highest in the Unites States compared to other industrialized countries, according to the National Campaign website. About 3 in 10 teenagers get pregnant. The teenage birth rate was on a decline for 15 years, but in 2010, the rate started to increase again. The teen birth rate for the Latino population, for example, is well above the nation's average. Fewer than one-fifth of teenagers say that they planned on getting pregnant. Major consequences of teen pregnancies are health risks for the baby, a lowered standard of living for the teenager and high levels of abortions.

Peer Pressure

All teens feel peer pressure. Boys, especially, feel pressure to have sex before they are ready, according to Psychology Today. Boys often pressure each other to have sex. Teen girls do not feel as pressured by their girlfriends to have sex. A 2003 study released by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that children need sex education starting at a young age.

Scientific Approach

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is taking a science-based approach to help prevent teen pregnancies caused by peer pressure. This approach identifies the populations most at-risk for teen pregnancies. The at-risk groups learn about health education and healthy behavior. The CDC identifies the most at-risks groups to be African-Americans, Latinos, Native Hawaiians and youth in foster care.

Susceptible Teens

Any teen can succumb to peer pressure to have sex. However, some teens are more likely to succumb than others are. Teens who are socially isolated and do not have a sense of self are likely candidates, according to WebMD. Popular teens are also vulnerable. If their friends value having sex, then they are likely to have sex, too.

Advice

Pressure to have sex can be intense for both boys and girls. Your teenager may believe that everyone in high school is having sex. That is not true. Let your teen know that not everyone is having sex, according to the Above the Influence website. Tell your teen that he doesn't have to have sex for people to accept him. His real friends should respect his decision not to have sex.

About the Author

Laura Agadoni has been writing professionally since 1983. Her feature stories on area businesses, human interest and health and fitness appear in her local newspaper. She has also written and edited for a grassroots outreach effort and has been published in "Clean Eating" magazine and in "Dimensions" magazine, a CUNA Mutual publication. Agadoni has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University-Fullerton.

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