It’s possible to determine how likely it is that male teens will live with their future children, researchers report.
This can be done by assessing a male teen’s attitudes about risky sex, pregnancy and birth control. Those less concerned about risky sex were 30 percent less likely to live with their children, and those who weren’t concerned if they got a young woman pregnant were 20 percent less likely, the study found.
Teen males with a better understanding of the effectiveness of birth control were 72 percent more likely to live with their children, according to the Northwestern University research team.
The study authors also found that it was possible to identify young males likely to become teen fathers.
The researchers used data from a 20-year U.S. government study that followed teens into adulthood.
“I was very surprised that, based on what adolescent males tell us in their teenage years, we could predict whether they would later become a teen father or a nonresident father,” Dr. Craig Garfield, an associate professor in pediatrics and medical social sciences, said in a university news release.
Previous research has shown that teen fathers are less likely to finish high school and more likely to have low-income jobs. These new findings can be used to change male teens’ attitudes about sexual health and their future behavior, Garfield said.
“We can intervene so these young men don’t go on to become teen fathers and are less likely to become nonresident fathers,” he said. “That’s a role the school system and health care workers can play when seeing young men for physicals. Together we can help young men think about their futures.”
The study findings were published Feb. 16 in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on preventing teen pregnancies.