High Educational Aspirations Among Pregnant Adolescents Are Related to Pregnancy Unwantedness and Subsequent Parenting Stress and Inadequacy

On the basis of theories of maternal identity development, role conflict, and childbearing motivation, the authors tested whether high educational aspirations among pregnant adolescents are related to the unwantedness of the pregnancy and whether pregnancy unwantedness leads to subsequent parenting stress and inadequacy. Longitudinal data from 100 first-time-pregnant, unmarried Latina adolescents (M age = 17.3 years) were analyzed. Results from structural equation path modeling confirmed these associations, with strong educational ambitions related to greater unwantedness of the pregnancy, which led to feeling trapped by parenting at 6 months postpartum, which in turn was related to unaffectionate parenting and feeling inadequate in mothering at 1 year postpartum. The potential long-term negative consequences of high educational aspirations for pregnant adolescents' adjustment to parenting are discussed.