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Lois Verbrugge, Disability Experience & Measurement

Arline T. Geronimus photo

Clashes of Common Sense: On the Previous Child-Care Experience of Teenage Mothers-To-Be

Publication Abstract

Geronimus, Arline T. "Clashes of Common Sense: On the Previous Child-Care Experience of Teenage Mothers-To-Be." PSC Research Report No. 91-202. January 1991.

Out-of-wedlock teenage childbearing is thought to be a destructive behavior that threatens children's well-being. Common sense beliefs about teenagers' inexperience with children, and the unremitting responsibilities they will hold for the care of their own, inform this view. Little empirical evidence addresses these questions. Here, a small sample of southern rural and northeastern metropolitan teenage mothers were intensively interviewed. In both locations, most interviewees reported extensive previous child care experience. Most anticipated active participation from family members in caring for their children. These findings suggest that the view that unmarried teen mothers have unrealistic perceptions about their infant care responsibilities, and the logical implications of this view, may be misleading.

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