Abstract: This study examined the Effect of Teenage Pregnancy in Nsit Ibom Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. The vital teenage pregnancy control variables considered in this study were: Lack of sex Education, Early exposure to pornography, socio-economic status of parents, precocity (early sexual maturity) and peer influence. Some related literature were reviewed to widen the knowledge of the researchers on the subject of the research design. A simple random sampling technique was used to select 250 students for the study. Three research questions and three null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. A researcher-developed questionnaire which was used to sample opinion of the respondents. Their opinions were analyzed using chi-square statistical index at an alpha level of 0.05 with degree of freedom (df) of 12.
The major findings of the study were that: lack of sex education can bring about teenage pregnancy; early exposure to pornography enhance teenage pregnancy; while socio-economic status of parents causes teenage pregnancy. Based on the findings, it was recommended that government should established skills acquisition centers in Nsit Ibom L.G.A to help adolescent who cannot complete their formal education to acquired skills that will make them independent.
Effect of Teenage Pregnancy in Nsit Ibom Local Government Area
1.1 Background of the Study
The issue of pregnancies among teenage girls seems to be a major social problem facing not only Nigeria, but also several others Nations of the World. Surveys by Investigators such as Briggs (2001), Gyepi-Garbrah (1985), Onuzulake (2003) and others revealed that teenagers become sexually active at an early age with corresponding high fertility. Teenage sexual activities in Nigeria also tend to be one the increase (Nwosu, 2005, Okafor, 1997). A major consequence of these increase in premarital sexual activity among teenagers is out of wed-lock pregnancies that are bound to end in abortion, childbirth or even death.
Teenager is often used interchangeable with adolescence. World Health Organisation – WHO (1997) opined that, it is the period between 10 and 19 years when the secondary sex characteristics appear, Turner and Helms (1993) reported that the teen years fall between the ages of 13 and 19 years. Views and opinions vary among authors and researchers on the specific age at which it begin or ends. Adesomowo (1988) reported that the teen years starts at either 11 or 12 years and last to 19 years when the character of a person takes the permanent form. According to Nwosu (2005), adolescents include all persons aged 13 to 19 years who constitute about 20 percent of the world population. Ezeorah (1982), Melgosa(2001), and a host of others agree that the teen years span from 13 to the 19 years of age.
Bongaart and Cohen (1998) described the teen years period of transition from childhood to adulthood, characterized by heightened social awareness and accelerated physical growth. This period, they opined, marks the onset of puberty and biological Maturity. It is a crucial period in the life of an individual because social, economic and demographic events occurs that set the stage for adult life. Ukekwe (2001) described it as the most important period in human life, which if not property handled, could lead to the most disastrous consequences in life especially among females.
Based on the opinion of researchers on the specific age at which teenage begins, the present study will be based on the age limit of 13 to 19 years. Ukekwe held that teenagers are expected to grow up morally and gradually observing the norms of the society into adulthood. On the contrary some of these teenagers engage in pre-martial sexual activities which expose them to the risks of abortions, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancies.
Pregnancy as defined by Gordon (1983) is a condition in which a female carries in her womb the young before it is born. Similarly, skyes (2000) defined pregnancy as the condition of carrying a developing offering in the uterus. A look at the two definitions of pregnancy above could reveal that pregnancy is meant for procreation and continuity. Nwosu (2005) is of the opinion that when pregnancy occurs at the appropriate time and in wed-lock, it is a welcome development but, if a teenager engages in pre-marital sex that may result in pregnancy she is putting herself in a responsibility that she is inadequately prepared for. Teenage pregnancy therefore means girls expecting to give birth to children between the ages of 13 and 19.
According to Allan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) (1988), teenage pregnancy is an undesirable phenomenon. Onuzulke (2003), supported this when observed that teenage pregnancy interferes with expectation regarding education, self-realization and economic prosperity among the affected teenagers. Ukekwe (2001) stated that stress arise even when pregnancies are planned and to think of unplanned pregnancy mean that the girl has to restructure her roles because she is inadequately unprepared for parenthood. Fadeyi (1978), observed that numerous cases of school dropout, maternal mortality and morbidity, infertility, abortion and children being abandoned in gutters, dustbins latrines and other deadly places are clear manifestation of the malady of teenage pregnancies.
Teenage pregnancy has vital implication for population growth. Nwosu (2005) opined that there is global increase in teenage pregnancies. She observed that more than 14 million adolescents give birth each year this contributing roughly 10 percent of the world’s total number of births. Ukekwe (2001), noted that many of these babies are unwanted by their teen mothers. These babies she maintained suffer from starvation, sicknesses, homelessness and abandonment among other complication. Briggs (2001) identified several complication associated with teenage pregnancy. These include high blood pressure, pre-eclamsia, malnutrition, vesico vaginal fistula, recto vaginal fistula and death. He observed that when high blood pressure is accompanied by proteinuria, the teenager’s condition can worsen to eclampsia, which if not controlled could progress to extreme hypertension, seizures, convulsion and cerebral hemorrhage. Chabra (1991) outlined complications of pregnancy among teenagers to include first and third trimester’s bleeding, severe anaemia, prolonged and obstructed labour, cephalopelvic disproportion, and toxaemias of pregnancy, still birth and high prenatal mortality and morbidity.
Besides the health consequences of teenage pregnancy and childbirth, the educational attainment of most, if not all teenage parents is hampered. Gorgen, Maier and Diesfield (1993) observed that students who become pregnant rarely go back to school. Steens-Simon and McAnarmey (1993) noted that teenage pregnancy is an maker for socio-demographic factors such factors as poverty and poor education. Brown (2001), corroborated this when he posited that many of the teenage pregnancy end-up in school dropouts. Okafor (1997) reported ignorance of sexual knowledge as one of the factors responsible for pregnancies among teenagers. He added that adolescents in secondary schools have low understanding of sex and sexuality.
Nwosu (2005) observed that adolescents face many risk ranging from unwanted pregnancies, HIV and AIDS, others STIs, sexual exploitation and inadequate information to help them negotiate this difficult passage to adulthood. Nwosu added that teens need access to specific information about to keep their bodies safe as well as information about sexual behavior and its consequences. She maintained that information about sexuality should be imparted to teenagers in order to help them avoid unwanted pregnancies. These situation may therefore constitute a serious setback to the teenager involved.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Research shows that the teen years are the most stressful and confusing times of life. (Deegan 1989, Duval 1995, Kohlberg 1981), during this period, teenagers are expected to acquire education and skills needed for the future. On the contrary, many teenage girls engage in premarital sex which expose them to the risks of STIs and teenage pregnancies (Umeono, 2003). Pregnancy is usually welcome when it occurs at the appropriate time such as a mature age and in wedlock. On the contrary, it is most unwanted when it occurs outside of wedlock or during the teen years, when the individual should be acquiring skills in formal or non-formal environments.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study was to determine the factors responsible for teenage pregnancy specifically. The study set out as follows:
- To examine how lack of sex education does significantly influence teenage pregnancy.
- To examine how early exposure to pornography significantly enhance teenage pregnancy.
- To examine how socio-economic status of parent significantly causes teenage pregnancy.
1.4 Research Questions
The following questions are formulated for the study:
- Does effective lack of sex education bring about teenage pregnancy?
- Does early exposure to pornography enhance teenage pregnancy?
- Does socio-economic status of parent bring about teenage pregnancy?
Effect of Teenage Pregnancy in Nsit Ibom Local Government Area
1.5 Significance of the Study
The finding of the study would be of benefit to government by making policies to accommodate teenagers who are still interested in continuing their educational pursuit after having their babies to complete their education.
- Educational planners will use the information from the study to develop strategies to ensure that skills acquisition centers be established in every Local Government Area to help adolescents who cannot complete formal education to acquire skills that will make them independent.
- The study will also aid the implementation authorities to provide efficient programmes aimed at educating teenagers on sex and sexuality education to be introduced into the curricula. More counselors should be employed in schools to take care of this aspect of the curricula because teenagers indicated ignorance of safe and unsafe period of sex as a factor in teenage pregnancy.
- The outcomes of the finding will help religious leaders to tackle the problem of teenage unwanted pregnancies through moral institutions in churches.
- Parents should be educated through seminars on the importance of discussing sex and sexuality with their children especially the females.
- The findings would also serve as a reference material for other researchers on similar subject matter.