Teenage pregnancy greatly influences the probability of high school graduation for girls (Ng & Kay, 2012; Solomon-Fears, 2015). Only 51% of women who give birth as teenagers earn a high school diploma by the time they are 22 years old, as compared to 89% of their non-teen-pregnant contemporaries (Ng & Kay, 2012). The United States Department of Education reports that the median income of a person from 18 to 67 years of age in 2012 without a high school degree was about $25,000, as compared to $46,000 with a high school degree (Stark & Noel, 2015). In a lifetime, that amounts to a personal loss of $670,000 because of the lack of a high school diploma and reflects a $250,000 loss to the national economy in reduced tax contributions, higher rates of illegal activity, and higher costs in welfare dependence (Stark & Noel, 2015). The final goal of this study was to create a flow chart to provide suggested support for pregnant and parenting teenagers in South Louisiana high schools to ensure graduation. To accomplish this goal, this qualitative phenomenological study investigated the perceptions of women in South Louisiana who experienced a teenage pregnancy while in high school and went on to earn a high school degree, in relation to: (1) experiences in high school, (2) the effects of their individual attributes on high school experiences, (3) school-provided supports they found to be beneficial, and (4) what they believed to be their greatest support leading to graduation. Nine participants were interviewed, and the findings revealed that women who experienced a teenage pregnancy in South Louisiana and went on to earn a high school degree (1) felt some sense of shame or embarrassment during the pregnancy, (2) experienced a lack of understanding or compassion by school personnel and their peers, (3) if African American, were generally more resilient, (4) had educational aspirations and academic success prior to pregnancy, (5) may have opted to attend an alternative school rather than stay at their base school, and (6) valued connecting with others with similar experiences.
|Advisor:||Olivier, Dianne F.|
|Commitee:||Griggs, Dana, Trahan, Mitzi P.|
|School:||University of Louisiana at Lafayette|
|School Location:||United States -- Louisiana|
|Source:||DAI-A 79/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, Education, Secondary education|
|Keywords:||High school graduation, Louisiana, Teenage pregnancy|
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