Teen Pregnancy Essay Example

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Teen Pregnancy and Who Is To Blame?  Is







This paper is going to explore of our country’s largest, uncontrolled, expanding epidemic that we face today and that is teen age pregnancy.  While this paper is going to explore the statistics of teen age pregnancy it is also going to explore why this epidemic has a possible psychological trigger.  Dr. Erik Erickson discusses in his theory if “identity crisis” that an individual must go through eight stages in life successful in order to understand their true identity.  While all of the eight stages are important only five will be discussed for this paper.  While many of us may believe that there is no reason for a teenager to get pregnant because they should just know better, Dr. Erickson’s theory gives a deep perspective into the psychological effects that can affect a child at different stages of life.  This paper is also going to explore what other sources maybe responsible for the teenage pregnancy crisis being so far out of hand.


Teen Pregnancy and Who Is To Blame? 

        Statistics show that every year over 750,000 teenage girls will get pregnant.  (Services, 2005)  More than 2/3 of the teenage girls that get pregnant will not graduate for high school and unmarried pregnant teens account for 24% of the unwed mothers in our country today  (Services, 2005)  While I don’t think many of us will argue that with statistics like this, we have to figure out why this epidemic is so far out of control.  To do this we have to be able to look at it from a psychological approach like Dr. Erik Erickson did in his book that he wrote about “Identity Crisis”. 

The chapter in his book titled, “The Eight Stages of Man” he explains that an all of these stages must be gone through for a person to truly form their identity. This theory of his encompasses not one part of an individual’s life but, the full circle of it.  (Erickson, 2008)  His whole theory basis is that people begin to form their own identity at the early stages of their life and continue on through adulthood.  While there are eight stages to the full circle of his theory for this paper we are only going to touch on five of the eight, with the main one being identity vs. identity confusion.  (Erickson, 2008)  While this stage in life according to Erickson is where teens not only lead to teen age pregnancy but, and other negative, self-destructive behaviors it is the stages before this that help form that negative behavior also.  These other stages include trust vs. mistrust, autonomy vs. shame, initiative vs. guilt, industry vs. inferiority.  All of these stages have both positives and conflicts for this topic we are going to focus on the conflicts.
Erickson’s first stage is the stage of trust vs. mistrust.  It is his theory that at an earlier age even young as a newborn, mistrust can be formed.  Erickson believed that the consequence of mistrust at such an early age could have severe consequences later on in one’s life.                                                                                                         

He stated “that the absence of experiences leading to the development of trust in early childhood may impair the capacity for one to feel identical with others during adolescence”.  (Erickson, 2008)  The second stage involved with his identity theory is the stage of autonomy vs. shame.  In this stage Erickson’s believes that autonomy is severely important to one’s positive look at them.  If this stage has the negative effect the adolescent, when older is more likely to have a low self worth and become self-esteem.  If these issues are left unresolved than these could cause the adolescent to lash out and be defiant towards parent, teachers or any other authority figure.  (Erickson, 2008)