Humberstone, Elizabeth (2018). Social networks and high school completion among adolescents experiencing pregnancy. Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.
Pregnant adolescents are a population at risk of dropout and have been found to complete fewer years of education than their peers. Pregnant girls’ social experience in school may be a factor in their likelihood to persist, as social integration is thought to buffer dropout risk. Pregnant teens have been found to have fewer friends than their peers; yet, the academic ramifications of these social network differences have yet to be studied. Using data collected from the Add Health survey, this study explores whether friendship networks are associated with high school graduation for pregnant adolescents. It evaluates the friendships of two groups – those who experienced a pregnancy before or during the survey and those who become pregnant soon after the survey. It finds having more friends and greater centrality in one’s school prior to pregnancy to be associated with a reduced risk of high school dropout compared to more socially isolated pregnant teens. These findings suggest that social integration may be a factor in the educational careers of girls who become pregnant. School-level efforts aimed at mitigating teens’ risk of social isolation may improve these teens’ academic outcomes.
pregnancy social networks educational attainment
Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association
2484. Section on Sociology of Education Refereed Roundtable Session
City of Publication