What is the influence of self-image and perceived parenting role expectations on adolescent fathers' perceived role performance?

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Jones, Merle B.
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"Adolescent pregnancy is one of the most pressing, persistent, and poignant problems facing society" (Yoos, 1987, p. 247). Manitoba's teen pregnancy rates are among the highest in Canada. Yet, little is known about adolescent fathers and their parenting involvement. The purpose of this descriptive correlational study was to explore variables which may influence teen fathers' participation in parenting. A convenience sample of 30 adolescent fathers, whose partners were attending an Adolescent Prenatal Clinic, completed two questionnaires: Offer Self-Image - Revised, and Perceived Parenting Role Performance. Guided by family role theory, four hypotheses were examined utilizing a quantitative research method. Data analysis revealed that 30% of these respondents had a low to very low self-image. Pearson's correlation coefficient, which facilitated hypotheses testing, failed to validate a relationship between teen fathers' perceived role performance and self-image, and perceived parenting role expectations. Nevertheless, a moderate negative correlation was noted between teen fathers' self-image and their perceived parenting role expectations (r = -.35, p < .05). These findings contradict the philosophy of family role theory. Results of this study indicated that teen fathers want to be involved in parenting. However, unrealistic expectations and the inability to combine the developmental tasks of adolescence with the responsibilities of fatherhood increase their vulnerability to parenting failure.