Teenage birth rates higher in more religious states

Sep 17, 2009

Rates of births to teenage mothers are strongly predicted by conservative religious beliefs, even after controlling for differences in income and rates of abortion. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access journal Reproductive Health have found a strong association between teenage birth rates and state-level measures of religiosity in the U.S.

Joseph Strayhorn, an adjunct faculty member with Drexel University and the University of Pittsburgh, and Jillian Strayhorn used data from the Pew Forum's US Religious Landscapes Survey and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to evaluate the state level effects of belief on teen birth rates. Joseph Strayhorn said, "The magnitude of the correlation between religiosity and teen birth rate astonished us. Teen birth is more highly correlated with some of the religiosity items on the Religious Landscapes Survey than some of those items are correlated with each other".

The religiosity of a state was determined by averaging the percents of respondents who agreed with the eight most conservative opinions possible in the Religious Landscapes Survey, such as 'There is only one way to interpret the teachings of my religion' or 'Scripture should be taken literally, word for word'.

According to Strayhorn, "Our findings by themselves do not, of course, permit causal inferences. But, if we may speculate on the most probable explanation, we conjecture that religious communities in the US are more successful in discouraging the use of contraception among their teenagers than they are in discouraging itself".

Religiosity and teen birth rate in the United States; Joseph M Strayhorn and Jillian C Strayhorn; Reproductive Health (in press); www.reproductive-health-journal.com/

Source: BioMed Central (news : web)

Explore further: Impact of childhood bullying still evident after 40 years

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Religious physicians are surveyed

Jul 31, 2007

A U.S. study found that religiously focused physicians don't disproportionately care for poor and underserved patients.

Palin, religion, the 2008 election

Sep 09, 2008

Although Sarah Palin's entry into the 2008 presidential race has energized the religious right within the Republican Party, don't expect religion to be a major issue in this year's election, says University of Alabama at ...

Recommended for you

Our brains are hardwired for language

4 hours ago

A groundbreaking study published in PLOS ONE by Prof. Iris Berent of Northeastern University and researchers at Harvard Medical School shows the brains of individual speakers are sensitive to language univer ...

Child burn effects far reaching for parents

9 hours ago

Parents of burn victims experience significant psychological distress for at least three months after the incident and may compromise the post-operative recovery of their child, WA research has found.

Internet use may cut retirees' depression

9 hours ago

Spending time online has the potential to ward off depression among retirees, particularly among those who live alone, according to research published online in The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences an ...

User comments : 5

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

jeffhans
1 / 5 (1) Sep 17, 2009
They do not distinguish between married and unwed teenage mothers.
OBSL33t
not rated yet Sep 17, 2009
The results don't surprise me one bit.

"They do not distinguish between married and unwed teenage mothers."
Because that variable is not relevant.
Hernan
5 / 5 (1) Sep 17, 2009
Jeffhans -- They state that the risk to the child of a teenager for several emotional and social problems is higher, and that's the reason for their survey. Whether or not the parents were married -- or remain married -- is not the focus.

A follow up on how marriage (before or after pregnancy) is related to religious belief, the longevity and emotional quality of such marriages, and how it affects the child, would be a worthwhile research.
Roj
not rated yet Sep 18, 2009
..we conjecture that religious communities in the US are more successful in discouraging the use of contraception


Religious communities, especially Protestants, also leverage co-ed, youth-group activities as part of their marketing. Young people have more opportunity to interact than non-religious school kids who's extra-curricular activity may be defined by same-sex sports, computer games, porn-speed modems and tossing off.
david_42
5 / 5 (1) Sep 20, 2009
As an example: In a town of 1800 people, there are eight churches. 14 of the girls in the local high school became pregnant in the last year. That's 10%. And yes, ALL of them were not married. The school board had a major battle in their effort to provide information and contraceptives to girls who had already given birth or were pregnant. People were arguing that this would encourage the girls to have sex. Re-read the prior sentence. 14 virgin births in one year, I think that's a record.

More news stories

Turning off depression in the brain

Scientists have traced vulnerability to depression-like behaviors in mice to out-of-balance electrical activity inside neurons of the brain's reward circuit and experimentally reversed it – but there's ...

Researchers discover target for treating dengue fever

Two recent papers by a University of Colorado School of Medicine researcher and colleagues may help scientists develop treatments or vaccines for Dengue fever, West Nile virus, Yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and other ...

Our brains are hardwired for language

A groundbreaking study published in PLOS ONE by Prof. Iris Berent of Northeastern University and researchers at Harvard Medical School shows the brains of individual speakers are sensitive to language univer ...

Study recalculates costs of combination vaccines

One of the most popular vaccine brands for children may not be the most cost-effective choice. And doctors may be overlooking some cost factors when choosing vaccines, driving the market toward what is actually a more expensive ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...