Case studies of pregnant and parenting teenagers who remain in high school, compared with those who drop out of high school

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Leadership

First Committee Member

E. John Kleinert - Committee Chair


The purpose of this study was to identify attitudinal and descriptive characteristics of teenagers who became pregnant under the age of 20. These characteristics were analyzed to find which were associated with students who remained in school compared to students who dropped out of school before high school graduation.The subjects of the study were eleven volunteers from a teenage parenting program who were either parenting or pregnant. Any student who had attended the program was eligible to participate. Case studies for each student were developed based on interviews, school records, and teacher/interviewer evaluation.Findings were: (1) Students who stayed in school were six months older in years and a grade level further in school than those who dropped out. (2) Students from lower socioeconomic status families were more likely to leave school. (3) Family educational aspirations were not an indication of staying in school; however, living in the family home was a factor in the decision to remain in school. (4) Having the father of the baby still involved in the teen mother's life was inconclusive. However, of the group of teen mothers who dropped out, five of six of the fathers of their babies had also dropped out. For the group of teen mothers who remained in school two of five fathers of their babies dropped out. (5) Whether the student remained in school or not, all of the participants said that they would not choose to have a child before high school graduation if they could make that choice over. (6) Attitudes about school, future goals and participation in school activities were varied with both groups.Conclusions concerning teenage mothers were: (1) Time needed to complete requirements for high school graduation is related to staying in school. (2) Teen mothers of lower socio-economic status were more likely to drop out than were those of higher socio-economic status. Teen mothers from single parent homes were also more likely to drop out. (3) Teen mothers with career plans, goals and educational aspirations were more likely to remain in school. (4) The most surprising conclusion was that over time the teen mother's ability to remain in school diminished due to evolving factors and requiring flexible solutions.


Education, Guidance and Counseling; Education, Educational Psychology

Link to Full Text


Link to Full Text