Adolescent Parenting: Risk and Protective Factors in the Context of Poverty

Josefina M. Grau, Kathryn S. Wilson, Erin N. Smith, Patricia Castellanos and Petra A. Duran

in The Oxford Handbook of Poverty and Child Development

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199769100
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Adolescent Parenting: Risk and Protective Factors in the Context of Poverty


Adolescent birthrates in the United States are much higher than those in other developed countries, and the majority of adolescents who become mothers come from impoverished backgrounds. Not surprisingly, they experience significant adjustment difficulties, and both their own and their children's developmental outcomes are often compromised. In this chapter, we review the adolescent parenting literature with the goal of uncovering the unique patterns of factors that may enable young mothers to parent successfully despite their disadvantaged conditions. We start with a description of the historic trends in birthrates and the socioeconomic and demographic characteristics of adolescent mothers in the United States, to provide the context in which they are parenting their children. We then review the literature on factors related to their parenting behaviors and the developmental outcomes of their children, including individual, familial, sociodemographic and cultural risk and protective factors. Finally, we conclude and provide future directions for research in the field.

Keywords: adolescent mothers; parenting; poverty; child development; teen births; child outcomes; ethnicity; culture

Article.  18800 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Developmental Psychology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribeRecommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »