Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair(s)

Glendon Casto


Glendon Casto


Karl White


Mark Innocenti


Despite the number of teen pregnancy studies in the past, there is a dearth of empirical data relevant to the issue of psychosocial and/or developmental changes in adolescent mothers. Most previous studies have addressed the negative and devastating impact of teen pregnancy on adolescent development. The premise of these early studies was that adolescents have pathological reasons for becoming pregnant. Contrary to these studies, an underlying assumption of this study was that teen pregnancy as a life crisis could entail the same facilitating and inhibiting factors that emerge with other adolescent life crises. Based on Erikson's theoretical framework, this study investigated the impacts of adolescent pregnancy and childbearing experiences on adolescent identity formation and on psychosocial stage development.

Data were collected from 64 (34 childbearing, 30 nonpregnant) high school adolescent girls before and after childbirth. The EOM-EIS (Extended Objective Measure of Ego Identity Status) and EPSI (Erikson Psychosocial Stage Inventory) were used in this study.

Analyses of pretest data showed that there were no differences between pregnant and nonpregnant adolescents. Results indicated that there were no differences on psychosocial variables between pregnant adolescents and nonpregnant adolescents with similar demographic backgrounds.

The childbearing adolescents demonstrated decreases in foreclosure scores on identity status and increases in trust, industry, and intimacy scores on psychosocial stages. The results indicate that childbearing experiences may have enhanced the adolescents' ability to resolve their earlier developmental stage crises and conflicts.



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