Perception and attitudes of parents towards teenage pregnancy in a rural community of Cross river state, Nigeria
Teenage pregnancy is a social menace and common public health problem. It is detrimental to both mother and child because teenage mother is not physically, psychologically and economically ready to bear a child. This phenomenon has multiple adverse consequences on maternal health, child health and overall wellbeing of the society. This study investigated the perception and attitudes of parents towards teenage pregnancy in a rural community in Akpabuyo Local Government Area. The objectives included: to determine parents’ perception on teenage pregnancy and to determine parents’ attitudes towards teenage pregnancy. A null hypothesis was stated to test the association between demographic characteristics of parents and their attitude towards teenage pregnancy. Descriptive survey was used and data were collected through self administered questionnaire to a sample of 309 respondents selected through purposive sampling. SPSS version 21.0 was utilized for data analysis. The findings included that 93% of parents claimed that a pregnant teenager outside wedlock is a social deviant and 85.8% said teenage pregnancy is a sign of parental failure. Their attitudinal behaviour showed that the affected girl would be sent away from the family (32.7%), parents would stop her education (49.8%) and that the girl would be abandoned to the man/boy responsible for the pregnancy. Sociodemographic characteristics of parents depicted by gender, education and religion were significantly associated with the attitudes of parents towards teenage pregnancy. Conclusion was made that gaps exist in parental perception and attitudes towards teenage pregnant girls. Therefore, it is recommended that parents should reappraise and strengthen their obligations towards their adolescent/teenage daughters to enable them achieve their full potentials through prevention of teenage pregnancies.
KEYWORDS: Teenage pregnancy, parental perceptions, parental attitudes, adolescent pregnancy