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Presents the results of a study to determine how early family formation, especially parenthood, affects the educational, vocational, and personal development of teenagers. The research is based on the National Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 1972, a panel study of over 22,000 high school seniors who were the subject of follow-up surveys in 1973, 1974, and 1976. The study is therefore restricted to teenagers who, for the most part, did not marry or become parents until they graduated from high school. The main finding is that, for this group, the effects of teenage parenthood on ambitions and attainments are not as severe as is commonly supposed. Although the teenage parents differ markedly from their classmates on almost every outcome measure studied, most of the differences in outcomes are explained by preexisting differences between the two groups. Moreover, the shortfalls in achievements and aspirations suffered by early parents are closely matched by those of nonparents in the same class who married at about the same time.

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