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The nature of adolescent sexuality, pregnancy, and childbearing is undergoing important transformations that have rendered the circumstances of early parenthood more visible and problematic. This Note examines three specific concerns surrounding adolescent reproduction: (1) which groups are most at risk for pregnancy and parenthood; (2) the effects of early parenthood on the parents; and (3) which groups are most vulnerable to these effects. Becoming a parent during adolescence is a far from random event. Available research indicates differences, often substantial, among those who have sex or abstain, who contracept or not, who choose to abort or carry to term, and who marry or remain single. Parenthood reduces adolescents' life chances in a variety of ways, and the effects generally are stronger the younger the age at which the first birth occurs. The determining consequences of adolescent parenthood are not inevitable. Research findings reviewed in this Note suggest how its incidence could be reduced and its negative effects lessened.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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