Why Does Poverty Increase the Risk to Teen Pregnancy? Self-belief does not necessarily ensure success, but self-disbelief assuredly spawns failure (Bandura, 1997, p. 77).? Poverty refers to the condition of not having the means to afford basic human needs such as clean water, nutrition, health care, clothing and shelter.  In this essay we will examine Albert Bandura’s self-efficacy theory and its correlation to poverty increasing the risk of teen pregnancy. We will explore how this conceptual framework can be used for personal and social betterment.
We will examine the home environment and mind set of pregnant teens and offer suggestion for improving the outlook for these children. Self-efficacy is defined as a person’s beliefs about his or her ability to attain particular goals. It has been found to impact the coping ability and behaviors of the individual (Bandura, 1994). The basic tenets of Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy centers around four sources of information. (1) Actual performance???if we repeatedly succeed at tasks, our sense of efficacy increases.
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If we repeatedly fail, our sense of efficacy drops. (2) Vicarious experiences???seeing others succeed at a tasks gives us the confidence that we can also succeed. (3) Verbal persuasion???others voicing confidence, encouragement that we can perform a task, usually results in accomplishment. (4) Physiological cues???interpreting tension or fatigue as a sign that a task is too difficult for us. When considering the mentality of a teenager, without regard for pregnancy or poverty, mastering these ‘four sources of information’ is a challenge.
Bandura asserts that efficacy determines the goals people set for themselves, how much effort they expend, how long they persevere in the face of barriers, and their resilience to failure. Efficacy also influences affective processes-those regulating emotional states and reactions such as stress, anxiety arousal, and depression (Bandura, 1994). Just as important the foundation when constructing a home, a teenager, to thrive in this mind set would have to have a foundation constructed from infancy. Disruption in child development as serious as poverty will not make persevering lives barriers an easy task.
Many teen mothers have grown up in extremely impoverished circumstnceschildren of poverty grow up in homes that lack an emphasis on education and observe abusive on a regular basis. It is sometimes seen that teens drop out of school even before they become pregnant which in turn leads to lower-paying jobs. Often times, mothers of pregnant teens were themselves teen parents. A lack of self-efficacy is prominent in impoverished teens, especially those that have suffered a lifetime of disappointment and struggle.
Many lack in self motivation???a characteristic necessary to make a change for the positive. For disadvantaged youths, having positive life options doesn’t come easy, and therefore they do not plan for their future and do not avoid barriers to that future such as early out-ofwedlock childbearing (Dryfoos, 1984). If disadvantaged youths do not perceive that doors are open to them, it is perhaps difficult for them to see teen pregnancy as closing any doors. ???Throughout life, a resilient sense of self-efficacy keeps people moving forward with energy and vitality.
When self-efficacy is low, people are prone to depression, resignation, and painful self-doubts? (Crain, p. 208). A way to help change the outlook for pregnant teens of poverty is to increasing access to socioeconomic resources???fostering an increase in the outlook of their future. Seeing that educational material is available and support is attainable to help them through their pregnancy may give them a sense of confident for a prosperous future. Providing training on parenting, budgeting and nutrition Positive life options give teens hope for the future and the motivation to avoid early childbearing.
Social workers can help to counsel, to get them on the right path to proper nutrition throughout their pregnancy and to guide them to available medical care. They also need assurance that further education and meaningful employment will be available to them. A positive environment, peers, and teachers can play a crucial role in making this happen. Bandura believed it’s good to overestimate our capacities and our belief we will succeed. Life is strewn with difficulties???disappointments, setbacks, impediments, inequities.
Optimistic self-efficacy is therefore beneficial: ???Tenacious strivers believe so strongly in themselves that they are able to exert extraordinary effort and suffer countless reversals in pursuit of their vision? (Bandura, 1998, p. 57) (Crain, p. 207). To understand and fight poverty adequately, policymakers and advocates must take into account the many issues and problems that can stand in the way of efforts by low-income youth and adults who are trying to improve their economic prospects. References 1.
American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Guidelines for perinatal care, 5th Edition. 2002 2. Arline T. Geronimus, ???Teenage Childbearing and Personal Responsibility,? Political Science Quarterly, 112 (Autumn 1997): 405???30. 3. Crain, William (2005)Theories of Development. 5th ed. Upper Saddle River, N. J. : Pearson/Prentice Hall. 4. en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Poverty 5. Fu, H, Darroch, JE, Haas, T and Ranjit, N. Contraceptive failure rates: New estimates from the 1995 National Survey of family growth.
Family Planning Perspectives 1999;31:56-63. 6. Health Canada. Nutrition for a healthy pregnancy: National guidelines for the childbearing years. Ottawa: Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada; 1999. 7. Heaman, MI, Gupton, AL, Moffatt, MEK. Prevalence and predictors of inadequate prenatal care: A comparison of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women in Manitoba. JOGC 2005;27:237-46. 8. National Council of Welfare. Healthy parents, healthy babies. 1997. Available at: http://www. ncwcnbes. net. htmdocument/reportparenthealth/rephealthyparents_e. h tm. Accessed July 2005. 9. Pajares, F. (2004). Albert Bandura: Biographical sketch. Retrieved month day, year, from http://des. emory. edu/mfp/bandurabio. html 10. Parker, RM, Williams, MV, Baker, DW, Nurss, JR. Literacy and contraception: Exploring the link. Obstetrics and Gynecology 1996;88:72S-77S 11. Widga, AC, Lewis, NM. Defined, in home, prenatal nutrition intervention for low-income women. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 1999;99:1058-62