Investigating Adolescent Parenthood with the National Study of High School Seniors

by Gus Haggstrom, Peter A. Morrison

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An interim report on a study of adolescent parenthood, based on a large panel study known as the National Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 1972 (NLS), which has tracked over 22,000 adolescents who are now in their early twenties and have experienced many of the near-term consequences of early parenthood. Three areas are treated: (1) Procedures are described for creating variables that mark entry into marriage and commencement of parenthood for the NLS respondents, thereby rectifying serious deficiencies in the NLS database. (2) A descriptive profile of four categories of respondents: late-adolescent parents, early-adult parents, adult parents, and nonparents is provided. This profile affords interesting descriptive comparisons among parents and nonparents, as well as certain benchmark comparisons for validation purposes. (3) A statistical model for gauging the consequences of early parenthood is developed. This model addresses certain methodological issues in assessing consequences from datasets that contain data for both parents and nonparents.

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