Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription Access
Cover Image

Prevalence of Teenage Pregnancy in Schools: An Ecosystemic Approach

Matjhabedi Emily Mazibuko, Lloyd DN Tlale


The aim of this article is to investigate the prevalence of teenage pregnancy in schools. The teenage pregnancy is a complex issue which does not only involve and affect one aspect of the child’s life, but involves and affects multiple system variables which interact with each other whilst influencing and being influenced by one another. This article examines, using the literature review, the occurrence of teenage pregnancy, synopsis of teenage pregnancy, factors that contribute to teenage pregnancy, implications of teenage pregnancy and existing efforts to reduce teenage pregnancy in schools. The results indicated that individuals, families, communities, organisations and nations are all ecosystems, and although none is an informationally closed system, the extent to which each level is connected to larger systems is associated with the degree of health exhibited by the ecosystem. To add, the findings shows that teenage pregnancy contributes to maternal and child mortality world-wide. This study concludes that the ecological framework is an approach that emphasises the processes of human development and occurs when the individual interacts biologically and psychologically with elements of the social and physical environment.


Ecosystemic approach, multiple system variables, risky sexual behaviours, teen parenthood, teenage pregnancy

Full Text:



American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 2016. Teen Brain: Behaviour, Problem

Solving, and Decision Making. [Online]

Available at:

[Accessed 11 January 2017].

Arnett, J. J., 2010. Emerging adulthood (s). Bridging cultural and developmental approaches to

psychology. New syntheses in theory, research and policy, pp. 255-275.

Aseltine, R., Doucet, J. & Schilling, E., 2010. Explaining the association between family structure

and early intercourse in middle class adolescents. Adolescent and Family Health, 4(4), pp. 155-170.

Bhana, D. & Mcambi, S. J., 2013. When schoolgirls become mothers: Reflections from a selected

group of teenage girls in Durban. Perspectives in Education, 31(1), p. 11.

Bhana, D., Morrell, R., Shefer, T. & Ngabaza, S., 2010. South African teachers' responses to

teenage pregnancy and teenage mothers in schools. Culture, Health and Sextuality, 12(8), pp. 871-883.

Blaise, R., 2010. Teenage Pregnancy in Breede River. Doctoral Thesis, Breede River: University

of Amsterdam.

Bodeep, J., 2015. Effects of teenage pregnancy. [Online] Available at:


[Accessed 3 September 2016].

Brien, M. J. & Willis, R. J., 2008. Costs and consequences for the fathers . In: S. D. Hoffman &

R. A. Maynard, eds. Kids having kids: economic costs and social consequences of teenage pregnancy. Washington DC: The Urban Institute Press.

Bronfenbrenner, U., 1979. The Ecology of Human Development Experiments by Nature and

Design. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Bronfenbrenner, U., 2005. Making human beings human: Bioecological perspectives on human

development. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Bronfenbrenner, U. & Ceci, S. J., 1994. Nature-nuture reconceptualized in developmental

perspective: A bioecological model. Psychological Review, 101(4), p. 568.

Chandra-Mouli, V., Camacho, A. V. & Michaud, P. A., 2013. WHO guidelines on preventing early

pregnancy and poor reproductive outcomes among adolescents in developing countries. Journal of Adolescent Health, 52(5), pp. 517-522.

Chang'ach, J. K., 2012. Impact of Teenage Pregnancy on the education of the girl-child: A case

study of Keiyo South District. International Journal of Social Science, Volume 1, pp. 1-8.

Chang, Y. T., Hayter, M. & Lin, M. L., 2014. Chinese Adolescents’ Attitudes Toward Sexual

Relationships and Premarital Sex Implications for Promoting Sexual Health. Journal of School of Nursing, pp. 105-145.

Chen, P. & Vazsonyi, A. T., 2011. Future orientation, impulsivity, and problem behaviors: A

longitudinal moderation model. Developmental Psychology, 47(6), pp. 16-33.

Cherry, A. L. & Dillon, M. E., 2014. Teenage pregnancy. Childhood studies. Oxford: Oxford

University Press.

Childline South Africa (2012) Insufficient parental support.

Chowles, P., 2013. Minister aims to curb teen pregnancies. [Online] Available at:

[Accessed 13 October 2013].

Corcoran, J., 2016. Teenage pregnancy and mental health. Societies, 6(21), pp. 11-19.

Crown, N., 2015. Janesville schools expel two for sexual activity on school grounds. [Online]

Available at: schools expel two for sexual activity on school grounds

[Accessed 18 February 2016].

De Visser, R. O. & O'Neill, N., 2013. Identifying and understanding barriers to sexually

transmissible infection testing among young people. Sexual Health, 10(6), pp. 553-558.

De Waal, M., 2013. Limpopo Child Bride: Sold into marriages, kept there by the system. Daily

Maverick 01 February. [Online]

Available at:

[Accessed 09 December 2015].

Department of Basic Education (DBE), 2010. Education for all 2010 Country report South Africa,

Pretoria: Department of Basic Education.

Department of Basic Education (DBE), 2012. General Household Survey (GHS) 2010: Focus on

schooling, Pretoria: Department of Basic Education.

Department of Basic Education (DBE), 2013. Education for all Country Progress Report: South

Africa, Pretoria: Government Printers.

Department of Basic Education (DBE), 2017. HIV & AIDS Life Skills Education programme,

Pretoria: Department of Basic Education.

Department of Education (DoE), 2001. Education white paper 6, Pretoria: Department of


Department of Education (DoE), 2001. Manifesto on values, education and democracy, Pretoria:

Department of Education.

Department of Education (DoE), 2002. Revised National Curriculum Grades R-9 (schools): Life

Orientation, Pretoria: Government Printers.

Department of Education (DoE), 2007. The Department of Education Policy on Measures for the

Prevention and management of Learner Prgnancy, Pretoria: Goverment Printers.

Department of Education, 2008. Education's management information systems: Survey for

ordinary schools, Pretoria: Goverment Printers.

Dev Raj, A., Rabi, B., Amudha, P., Van Teijligen, E. & Glyn, C., 2010. Factors associated with

teenage pregnancy in South Asia: A systemic review. Health Science Journal, 4(1), pp. 612-645.

Di Clemente, R. J., Salazar, L. F. & Crosby, R. A., 2007. A review of STD/HIV preventive

interventions for adolescents: Sustaining effects using an Ecological approach. Journal of Pedriatric Psychology, 32(8), pp. 888-906.

Dopkins Broecker, J. & Hillard, P., 2009. Pregnancy in Adolescence. [Online] Available at:

[Accessed 16 June 2016].

Draga, L., 2011. Equal Education acts through the law to promote change in Education. Cape

Town: EE Law Centre.

Duffy, J. L., 2012. Enhancing teen pregnancy prevention in local communities: Capacity Building

using the Interactive Systems Framework. American Journal of Community Psychology, 50(3-4), pp. 370-385.

Ellis, B. J., Del Giudice, M., Dishion, T. J., Figueredo, A. J., Gray, P., Griskevicius, V., 2012. The

evolutionary basis of risky adolescent behavior: implications for science, policy, and practice. Developmental psychology, 48(3), pp. 598-623.

Equal Education, 2011. EE Annual Report 2010 and 2011, Cape Town: EE Law Centre.

Espinoza, L. E. 2019. “Formal and Parental Sex Education Differences among Hispanic Young

Women by Nativity Status.” Sex Education 19 (1): 15–24

Francis, S. A., Lam, W. K., Cance, J. D. & Hogan, V. K., 2009. What's the 411? Assessing the

feasibility of providing African American adolescents with HIV/AIDS prevention education in a faith based setting. Journal of Religion and Health, Volume 48, pp. 164-177.

Furman, W. & Shaffer, L., 2013. The role of romantic relationships in adolescent development.

In: P. Florsheim, ed. Adolescent romantic relations and sexual behviour: Theory, research and practical implications. Mahwah: Erlbaum, p. 3–22.

Ghosh, P., 2013. Babies having babies: Teenage pregnancies destroying lives and futures of South

African girls. Business Times, pp. 5-6.

Govender, P., 2015. Government plans to give condoms to 10 year-olds, Sunday Times News.


Available at:

[Accessed 20 July 2016].

Grant , M., 2012. The passing of the great race. The Palingenesis Project. London: Wermod and

Wermod Publishing Group.

Grant, M., 2011. Girls schooling and the perceived threat to adolescent sexual activity in rural

Malawi. Research, Intervention and Care, 14(1), pp. 73-86.

Grossman Jennifer, M., C. Black Anne, M. Richer Amanda, and D. Lynch Alicia. 2019. “Parenting

Practices and Emerging Adult Sexual Health: The Role of Residential Fathers.” The Journal of Primary Prevention 40 (5): 505–528.

Gyan , C., 2013. The effects of Teenage Pregnancy on the Educational Attainment of Girls at

Chorkor a suburb of Afica. Journal of Educational and Social Research, Volume 3, pp. 53-60.

Haggerty, K. P., Mc Glynn-Wright, A. & Klima, T., 2013. Promising parenting programs for

reducing adolescent problem behaviours. Journal of Children's Services , 8(4), pp. 1-29.

Hanson, J. D., McMahon, T. R., Griese, E. R. & Kenyon, D. B., 2014. Understanding gender roles

in teen pregnancy prevention among American Indian youth. American Journal of Health Behavior, 38(6), pp. 807-815.

Hockaday, C., 2010. A prospective study of adolescent pregnancy. Journal of Adolescence, 23(4),

pp. 423-438.

Hockenberry, M. J. & Wilson, D., 2014. Wong's nursing care of infants and children. Melbourne:

Elsevier Health Sciences.

Hodes, R., 2016. The culture of illegal abortion in South Africa. Journal of Southern African

Studies, 42(1), pp. 79-93.

Hoque, M. E., Towobola, O. A., Mashamba, T. J. & Monokoane, T., 2014. Comparison of adverse

pregnancy outcome between teenage and adult women at a tertiary hospital in South Africa. International Journal of Medical Sciences, 25(2), pp. 167-172.

Hughes, B., 2010. Teenage Pregnancy: Accelerating the Strategy to 2010, Nottingham: DfES


Ikeanyi, M. E. & Okonkwo, C. A., 2014. Complicated illegal induced abortions at a tertiary health

institution in Nigeria. Pakistan Journal Of Medical Sciences, 30(6), pp. 1398-1402.

Inman, A. G., Altman, A., Kaduvettoor-Davidson, A., Carr, A. & Walker, J. A., 2018. Cultural

Intersections: A Qualitative Inquiry into the Experience of Asian Indian–White Interracial Couples. Family Process, 50(2), pp. 248-266.

Inter-Press Services, 2015. Pregnancy and Childbirth still kill too many women in Latin America.

[Online] Available at:

[Accessed 01 May 2016].

Jackson, C. A., Henderson, M., Frank, J. W. & Haw, S. J., 2012. An overview of prevention of

multiple risk behaviour in adolescence and young adulthood. Journal of public health, 34(suppl 1), pp. i31-i40.

James, S., Van Rooyen, D. & Strumpher, J., 2012. Experiences of teenage Pregnancy in Port

Elizabeth. South Africa Midwifery, pp. 190-197.

Jewkes , R. & Morrell, R., 2006. Gender and sexuality: emerging perspectives from the

heterosexual epidemic in South Africa and implications for HIV risk and prevention. Journal of the International AIDS Society, 13(1), p. 6.

Kamalasanan, B., 2012. Psychological Issues with teenage pregnancy. [Online] Available at:

[Accessed 21 September 2017].

Kemberg, O. F., 2010. Narcissistic Personality Disorder. In: J. F. Clarkin, P. Fonagy & G.

Gabbard, eds. Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Disorders: A clinical Handbook. Washington Dc: American Psychiatric Publishing Inc.

Kershaw, T S., Ethier, K A., Niccolai, L M., Lewis, J B., Milan, S., Meade, C. & Ickovics, J. R.,

Let’s stay together: relationship dissolution and sexually transmitted diseases among parenting and non-parenting adolescents. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 33(6), pp. 454-456.

Kurth, F., Belard, S., Mombo-Ngoma, G., Schuster, K., Adegnika, A. A., Bouyou-Akotet, M. K.,

Kremsner, P. G. & Ramharter, M., 2010. Adolescence as risk factor for adverse pregnancy outcome in Central Africa–a cross-sectional study. PloS One, 5(12), p. 14367.

Layzer, C., Rosapep, L. & Barr, S., 2014. A peer education program: delivering highly reliable

sexual health promotion messages in schools. Journal of adolescent health, 54(3), pp. 570-577.

Lloyd , C. B. & Mensch, B. S., 2008. Marriage and childbirth as factors in dropping out from

school: An analysis of DHS data from sub-Saharan Africa. Population Studies, 62(1), pp. 1-13.

Lloyd, C. B., 2010. The role of schools in promoting sexual and reproductive health among

adolescents in developing countries. Social determinants of sexual and reproductive health: Informing future research and programme implementation, Geneva: WHO.

Loaiza, E. & Liang, M., 2013. Adolescent pregnancy: a review of the evidence., New York:


Lyons, C. A. & Barclay, M., 2011. Abnormal Psychology: Clinical and Scientific Perspectives.

Redding CA: BVT Publishing.

Majorano, M., Musetti, A., Brondino, M. & Corsano, P., 2015. Loneliness, emotional autonomy

and motivation for solitary behaviour during adolescence. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24(11), pp. 3436-3447.

Malabarey, O. T., Balayla, J., Klam, S. I., Shrim, A. & Abenhaim, H. A., 2012. Pregnancies in

young adolescent mothers: a population-based study on 37 million births. Journal of paediatric and adolescent gynaecology, 25(2), pp. 98-102.

Manda, S., Masenyetse, L., Cai, B. & Meyer, R., 2015. Mapping HIV prevalence using population

and antenatal sentinel-based HIV surveys: A multi-stage approach. Population Health Metrics, 13(22).

Mantovani, N. & Thomas, H., 2015. Resillience and survival: Black teenage mothers 'looked after'

by the state tell their stories about their experience of care. Children & Society, 29(4), pp. 299-309.

Masondo, S., 2015. Teenage pregnancies hit 99000 a year. [Online] Available at:

[Accessed 12 February 2016].

Mbhalati, N. P., 2012. Attachment and idealisation of pregnancy and parenting, attitudes towards

pregnancy and parenting readiness among school going female teenagers. Turfloop: University of Limpopo.

McLean, K. C., Breen, A. & Fournier, M. A., 2010. Adolescent identity development: Narrative

meaning-making and memory telling. Journal of Research on Adolescence, Volume 20, pp. 166-187.

McPherson, M., 2014. Current Trends for Teenage Births in New Zealand, Hamilton: University

of Waikato.

Mendes, M. & Castelo-Branco, C., 2014. Adolescent pregnancy in Portugal. In: A. Cherry & M.

Dillon, eds. International Handbook of Adolescent Pregnancy. New York: Springer Science Business Media, pp. 135 -152.

Molosiwa, S. & Moswela , B., 2012. Girl-pupil dropout in secondary schools in Botswana: Influencing factors, prevalence and consequences. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 3(7), pp. 265-271.

Moore, N., McGlinchey, A. & Carr, A., 2006. Prevention of teenage pregnancy, STDs and HIV infection. In: A. Carr, ed. Prevention: What works with children and adolescents?: A critical review of psychological prevention programmes for children, adolescents and their famlies. Canada: Routledge, pp. 287-313.

Nall, R., 2014. Asphyxia Neonatorum. [Online]

Available at:

[Accessed 17 July 2016].

Nall, R., 2016. What are the effects of teenage pregnancy?. [Online]

Available at:

[Accessed 21 September 2017].

Narsee, A. J., 2015. Sex video shame led Jules high pupil to kill herself. Sunday Times news, 8 March, p. 7.

National Campaign to prevent teen and unplanned pregnancy, 2012. Women's Fund hosts teen pregnancy prevention: Experts at public forum. Washington DC, Womens Foundation of Mississippi.

Nelson, V., 2011. Are you responsible? Analyzing the teen pregnancy crisis. Elf, Volume 3, pp. 23-27.

Noller, P. & Callan, V., 2015. The adolescent in the family, London: Routledge.

Oyedele, O. A., Wright, S. C. & Maja, T. M., 2015. Community participation in teenage pregnancy prevention programmes: A systematic review. Journal of Research in Nursing and Midwifery, 4(2), pp. 24-36.

Panday, S., Makiwane, M., Ranchod, C. & Letsoalo, T., 2009. Teenage pregnancy in South Africa: With a specific focus on school going learners.Child, Youth, Family and Social Development, Human Sciences Research Council, Pretoria: Department of Basic Education.

Parker, F., 2013. Green light for sexual offences act development. Mail & Guardian, 16 January, p. 3.

Payne, N. A. & Anastas, J. W., 2015. The Mental health needs of low-income pregnant teens: A nursing–Social Work partnership in care. Research on Social Work Practice, 25(5), pp. 595-606.

Public Health England, 2017. Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Framework, Wales: Department of Health.

Rangiah, J., 2012. The experiences of pregnant teenagers about their pregnancy. Doctoral Thesis, Stellenbosch: Stellenbosch University.

Rathus, S. A., 2014. Childhood and Adolescence: Voyages in development. 5th ed. Wadsworth: Cengage Learning.

Republic of South Africa, 1996. South African Schools Act: Act No 84 of 1996. Goverment Gazette 377 (17579). Cape Town: Government Printers.

Rokach, A., 2012. Lonelines updated: An introduction. The Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied, 14b(1-2), pp. 1-6.

Rosenthal, M. S., Ross, J. S., Bilodeau, R., Richter, R. S., Palley, J. E., & Bradley, E .H., 2009. Economic evaluation of a comprehensive teenage pregnancy prevention program: pilot program. American Journal of preventive medicine, 37(6), pp. S280-S287.

SABC, 2013. Teenage pregnancy dropouts create ostracized generation. [Online]

Available at: httcp://

[Accessed 11 July 2013].

Salazar, L. F., Bradley, E. L., Younge, S. N., Daluga, M. A., Crosby, R. A., Lang, D. L. & Di Clemente, R .J., 2010. Applying ecological perspectives to adolescent sexual health in the United States: rhetoric or reality?. Health Education Research, 25(4), pp. 552-562.

Salazar, L. F., Di Clemente, R. J., Wingood, G. M., Crosby, R. A., Harrington, K., Davies, S., Hook lii, E . W. & Oh, M. K., 2004. Self-concept and adolescents′ refusal of unprotected sex: A test of mediating mechanisms among African American girls. Prevention Science, 5(3), pp. 137-149.

Seginer, R., 2009. Future orientation: Developmental and ecological perspectives. New York: Springer.

Seginer, R. & Shoyer, S., 2012. How mothers affect adolescents' future orientation: A two‐source analysis. Japanese Psychological Research, 54(3), pp. 310-320.

Seutlwadi, L., Peltzer, K. & Mchunu, G., 2012. Contraceptive use and associated factors among South African youth (18-24 years): A population-based survey: Original article. South African Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 18(2), pp. 43-47.

Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, 2012. The President's Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative. [Online]

Available at: http//

[Accessed 2 August 2016].

Shefer, T., Bhana, D. & Morrell, R., 2013. Teenage pregnancy and parenting at school in contemporary South African contexts: Deconstucting school narratives and understanding policy implementation. Perspectives in Education , 31(1), pp. 1-10.

Singh, S. & Darroch, J., 2010. Adding it up: Costs and Benefits of contraceptives services: Project 1, New York: Guttmacher Institute.

Skinner, S. R., Smith, J., Fenwick, J., Hendriks, J., Fyfe, S. & Kendall, G., 2009. Pregnancy and protection: perceptions, attitudes and experiences of Australian female adolescents. Women and Birth, 22(2), pp. 50-56.

Skinner, S. R. & Marino, J. L., 2016. England's Teenage Pregnancy Strategy: a hard-won success. The Lancet, Volume 388, pp. 538-540.

Skosana, I., 2013. Stuck in a destructive cycle of poverty and teen pregnancy. [Online]

Available at: teen-pregnancy

[Accessed 7 August 2016].

Solomonia, N., Playforth, K. & Reynolds, E. W., 2012. Fetal -martenal hemorrhage : A case of literature review. AJP Reports, 2(11), pp. 7-14.

South African Institute of Race Relations, 2011. South African Survey 2010/2011: Education, Pretoria: SAIRR .

South African Legal Information Institute, 2013. Constitutional Court of South Africa Case: CCT103/12[2013]ZACC 25. [Online]

Available at:

[Accessed 03 December 2014].

Stoddard, S. A., Zimmerman, M. A. & Bauermister, J. A., 2011. Thinking about the future as a way to succeed in the present: A longitudinal study of future orientation and violent behaviours among African American youth. American Journal of community psychology, 48(3-4), pp. 238-246.

Taylor , S., 2010. Teenage pregnancy can have long term effects. [Online]

Available at:

[Accessed 25 August 2012].

Taylor, M., Jinabhai, C., Dlamini, S., Sathiparsad, R., Eggers, M. S. & De Vries, H., 2014. Effects of a teenage pregnancy prevention program in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Health Care for Women International, 35(7-9), pp. 845-858.

Templeton, M., Lohan, M., Kelly, C., & Lundy, L., 2016. A systematic review and qualitative synthesis of adolescents' views of sexual rediness. Journal of advanced nursing, pp. 1-14.

Thomas, A., 2012. Three strategies to prevent unintended pregnancy. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 31(2), pp. 280-311.

Tucker, P., 2015. Zuma's remarks on teen pregnancy not only wrong but reckless. Mail & Guardian,. [Online]

Available at:

[Accessed 9 August 2016].

UNAIDS, 2014. Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS: The gap report, Geneva: UNAIDS.

UNESCO, 1994. The Salamanca statement and framework for action on special needs education, Salamanca,Spain: Unesco.

UNFPA, 2013. Population dynamics in the post 2015 Development Agenda , Dhaka: UNFPA.

Wandersman, A. E. & Duffy, J. L., 2008. Bridging the gap between prevention research and practice: The Interactive Systems Framework for dissemination and implementation. American Journal of Community Psychology , Volume 41, pp. 171-181.

Wax, A. L., 2011. Diverging family structure and "rational" behaviour In Cohen L.R and Wright J.D Research handbook on the economics of family law. Northhampton ed. Northhampton: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.

Weed, K., Nicholson , J. S. & Farris , J. R., 2014. Teen pregnancy and parenting: Rethinking the myths and misperceptions. New york: Routledge.

Welton, R., 2013. The social impact of being a teen mom. [Online]

Available at:

[Accessed 16 June 2016].

WHO, 2008. Why is giving special attention to adolescents important for achieving millenium development goal 5, Geneva: WHO.

WHO, 2011. The sexual and reproductive health of younger adolescents: Research issues in developing countries, Geneva: WHO Document Production Services.

WHO, 2012. Early Marriages, Adolescent and young pregnancies. [Online]

Available at:

[Accessed 27 May 2015].

WHO, 2016. Martenal, new-born, child and adolescent health, Geneva: WHO.

Williams, D. & Nair, N., 2013. Teenage pregnancy shock. Times live. [Online]

Available at:

[Accessed 31 October 2014].

Wiseman, A. W. & Glover, R. N., 2012. The Impact of HIV/AIDS on Education Worldwide (Vol. 18). West Yorkshire: Emerald Group Publishing.

Wolhuter, B., 2013. Teen pregnancy crisis hits KZN.IOL. [Online]

Available at:

[Accessed 05 September 2014].

Wong, N. T., Zimmerman, M. A. & Parker, E. A., 2010. A typology of youth participation and empowerment for child and adolescent health promotion. American Journal of Community Psychology, 46(1-2), pp. 100-114.

Woolfolk, R. L., 2013. Experimental philosophy: A methodological critique. Metaphilosophy, 44(1-2), pp. 79-87.

Worldwatch Institute, 2013. The state of the world report. Is sustainability still possible. [Online]

Available at: http//

[Accessed 4 January 2017].

Yeboah, S., 2013. Africa has world’s highest rate of adolescent pregnancies. [Online]

Available at:

[Accessed 7 April 2015].

Zachry, E. M., 2005. Getting My Education: Teen Mothers' Experiences in School Before and After Motherhood. Teachers College Record, 107(12), pp. 2566-2598.


  • There are currently no refbacks.