Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 16, Issue 2–3, pp 207–237 | Cite as

Welfare and adolescent sex: The effects of family history, benefit levels, and community context

  • Kristin A. Moore
  • Donna Ruane Morrison
  • Dana A. Glei
Article

Abstract

To examine whether welfare serves as an incentive to early childbearing, this article explores the first steps in the process of becoming a teenage parent: risk of first voluntary sexual intercourse at an early age and, among teens having sex, contraceptive use at first intercourse. Alternative operationalizations of welfare include the AFDC benefit level in the state of residence, the ratio of the benefit level to family income, community-level welfare receipt, and family history of welfare receipt. Results do not support the hypothesis that higher welfare benefits provide an incentive that hastens sex or reduces contraceptive use. Analyses provide moderate support for a culture of poverty perspective among girls. Intergenerational welfare receipt has a borderline significant effect on the timing of first sex, and maternal welfare receipt predicts nonuse of contraception at first sex for girls. Strong support is found for a stressful life experiences perspective, in which both parental marital disruption and nonvoluntary sex predict earlier voluntary sex.

Key Words

adolescents contraception sexual behavior teen welfare 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Acs, G. (1993). Does AFDC encourage childbearing?Urban Institute/Policy and Research Report, 23(3), 19.Google Scholar
  2. Adams, G. C. (1987, March 17). The dynamics of welfare recipiency among adolescent mothers. Memorandum of Human Resources and Community Development Division, U.S. Congressional Budget Office, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  3. Allison, P. D. (1984). Event history analysis: Regression for longitudinal event data (Series Number 07-014). Beverly Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
  4. An, C., Haveman, R. & Wolfe, B. (1993). Teen out-of-wedlock births and welfare receipt: The role of childhood events and economic circumstances.Review of Economics and Statistics, 75, 195–208.Google Scholar
  5. Bane, M. J., & Ellwood, D. T. (1986). Slipping into and out of poverty: The dynamics of spells.Journal of Human Resources, 21, 1–23.Google Scholar
  6. Bloom D., Kopp, H., Long, D., & Polit, D. (1991).LEAP: Implementing a welfare initiative to improve school attendance among teenage parents. New York: Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation.Google Scholar
  7. Boyer, D., & Fine, D. (1992). Sexual abuse as a factor in adolescent pregnancy and child maltreatment.Family Planning Perspectives, 24, 4–11.Google Scholar
  8. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979).The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Browne, A., & Finkelhor, D. (1986). Impact of child sexual abuse: A review of research.Psychology Bulletin, 99, 66.Google Scholar
  10. Butler, J. R., & Burton, L. M. (1990). Rethinking teenage childbearing: Is sexual abuse a missing link?Family Relations, 39, 73.Google Scholar
  11. Cherlin, A. C., Kiernan, K. E., & Chase-Lansdale, P. L. (in press) Parental divorce in childhood and demographic outcomes in young adulthood.Child Development.Google Scholar
  12. Duncan, G. J., & Hoffman, S. D. (1990). Welfare benefits, economic opportunities, and out-of-wedlock births among black teenage girls.Demography, 27, 519–535.Google Scholar
  13. Ellwood, D. T. (1987). Understanding dependency: Choices, confidence or culture? (Report to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). Waltham, MA: Brandeis University, Center for Human Resources.Google Scholar
  14. Furstenberg, F. F., Jr., & Teitler, J. O. (1994). Reconsidering the effects of marital disruption: What happens to children of divorce in early adulthood?Journal of Family Issues, 15, 173–190.Google Scholar
  15. Geronimus, A. T. (1987).Teenage maternity and neonatal mortality: A new look at American patterns and their implications for developing countries (Discussion paper 87-3). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, Center for Population Studies.Google Scholar
  16. Harrell, F. E. (1986). The PHGLM procedure. In SAS Institute, Inc.,SUGI Supplemental Library User's Guide (Version 5 Edition) (pp. 437–466). Cary, NC: SAS Institute Inc.Google Scholar
  17. Hayes, C. (Ed.). (1987).Risking the future: Adolescent sexuality, pregnancy, and childbearing (vol. 1). Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  18. Hetherington, E. M. (1992). Effects of father absence on personality development in adolescent daughters.Developmental Psychology, 7, 313–326.Google Scholar
  19. Hetherington, E. M., Clingempeel, W. G., in collaboration with Anderson, E. R., Deal, J. E., Hagan, M. S., Hollier, E. A. & Lindner, M. S. (1992). Coping with marital transitions: A family system perspective.Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development,57(2/3).Google Scholar
  20. Iverson, T. J., & Segal, M. (1990).Child abuse and neglect: An information and reference guide. New York: Garland Publishing.Google Scholar
  21. Kahn, J. R., & Anderson, K. E. (1992). Intergenerational patterns of teenage fertility.Demography, 29, 39–57.Google Scholar
  22. Lundberg, S., & Plotnick, R. D. (1995). Adolescent premarital childbearing: Do economic incentives matter?Journal of Labor Economics, 13, 177–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Miller, B. C., & Moore, K. A. (1990). Adolescent sexual behavior, pregnancy, and parenting: Research through the 1980s.Journal of Marriage and the Family, 52, 1025–1044.Google Scholar
  24. Moffitt, R. (1992). Incentive effects of the U.S. welfare system: A review.Journal of Economic Literature, 30, 1–61.Google Scholar
  25. Moore, K. A. (1978a).The social and economic consequences of teenage childbearing for women, families and government welfare expenditures (Testimony before the Human Resources Committee of the United States Senate). Washington, DC: Urban Institute.Google Scholar
  26. Moore, K. A. (1978b). Teenage childbirth and welfare dependency.Family Planning Perspectives, 10, 233–235.Google Scholar
  27. Moore, K. A., Morrison, D. R., Blumenthal, C., Daly, M. L., & Bennett, R. (1993).Data on teenage childbearing in the United States (Prepared for the American Enterprise Institute/White House Working Seminar on Integrated Services for Children and Families). Washington, DC: Child Trends.Google Scholar
  28. Moynihan, D. P. (1965). Employment, income and the ordeal of the Negro family. In T. Parsons & K. B. Clark (Eds.),The Negro American. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  29. Murray, C. (1984).Losing ground. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  30. Murray, C. (1993, October 29). The coming white underclass.Wall Street Journal, p. A14.Google Scholar
  31. Samuelson, R. J. (1993, September 11). Should we think the unthinkable?Newsweek, p. 43.Google Scholar
  32. Stack, C. B. (1974).All our kin. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  33. Teachman, J. D. (1982). Methodological issues in the analysis of family formation and dissolution.Journal of Marriage and the Family, 44, 1037–1053.Google Scholar
  34. Tuma, N. B., & Hannan, M. T. (1978). Approaches to the censoring problem in analysis of event histories. In K. F. Schuessler (Ed.),Sociological methodology 1979 (pp. 209–40). San Francisco: Jossey Bass.Google Scholar
  35. U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Ways and Means. (1994).Overview of entitlement programs: 1994 green book. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  36. Wallerstein, J. S. (1985). Children of divorce: Preliminary report of a ten-year follow-up of older children and adolescents.Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, 24, 545–553.Google Scholar
  37. Wilson, W. J. (1987).The truly disadvantaged: The inner city, the underclass, and public policy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  38. Yamaguchi, K. (1991).Event history analysis. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristin A. Moore
    • 1
  • Donna Ruane Morrison
    • 1
  • Dana A. Glei
    • 1
  1. 1.Child Trends, Inc.Washington, DC

Personalised recommendations