By Jenny Teng
Girls who have friends with children have shown to have lower chances of pregnancy themselves.
Researchers performed a study in which they compared two groups of teen girls. The groups were composed of those with a similarly-aged friend who’d given birth, and those with a friend who’d had an early miscarriage. They wanted to see whether these events affected the choice to have sex, get pregnant, have a child and being married as a teenager – or the choice regarding school, marriage and family as adults.
It was found that the girls who had friends that became teen mothers were less likely to have sex, get pregnant or get married as teens. However, they were more likely to attain their college degree. This is because “teens learn from their friends’ mistakes,” according to Dr. Olga Yakusheva of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
This could also be due to the fact that many teen mothers drop out of school or go to alternative schools due to their condition. This often impacts their social lives. Many times, teen mothers are no longer accepted by their circle of friends or their communities. This becomes a huge wake up call for other teens who see this happening to their friends.
Yakusheva recommends exposing teens to the realities of pregnancy. Instead of only telling them how not to become pregnancy, also teach them why this should be prevented.