What are your concerns about the possibility of having children? Survey of parenthood intentions for 16–18-year-old students

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

In a recent study published in Human Fertility, researchers surveyed 16- to 18-year-old undergraduates about their plans to become parents in England.

Study: Parenthood intentions of 16–18-year-olds in England: a survey of school students. Image Credit: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.com
Study: Parenthood intentions of 16–18-year-olds in England: a survey of school students. Image Credit: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.com

Background

Teenagers' perspectives on having children are critical for improving reproductive and sex education. Due to deficiencies in reproductive health and sex education at school, they frequently underestimate their odds of conception and are unaware of age-related fertility consequences. Comprehensive reproductive health and sex education are critical for health and well-being since they reduce misconceptions and allow young individuals to make educated decisions throughout their reproductive lives.

In the United Kingdom (UK), the biology curriculum does not address vital reproductive health subjects, and knowing teenagers' attitudes about reproduction is critical for improving the existing relationships and sex education (RSE) curriculum.

About the study

In the present study, researchers questioned secondary school students aged between 16 and 18 years about their opinions on having children.

Using the Department of Education's database of all secondary schools in England, personal and professional relationships, and a tutor forum, the team contacted the schools and invited them to participate in the survey-based study. The 47-component online anonymous survey, which included open-ended and multiple-choice questions about demographic parameters, sex and reproduction knowledge and education, and attitudes about the potential of giving birth, was available from May 10, 2021, to July 18, 2022. The sample population consisted of 931 students.

The researchers developed questions after reviewing the RSE syllabus of England using past survey approaches. They used skip logic, guiding particular students to questions based on past responses. They conducted cognitive interviews and discussed with research professionals on the subject to determine the reliability of the questions and alternatives listed in the survey.

The team conducted one-on-one cognitive interviews with the targeted audience online, and five students (four men and one female) met the qualifying criteria. During the interview sessions, they used concurrent probing and think-aloud approaches, and all five participants piloted the study survey so that researchers could check the suitability of the survey structure, questions, and alternatives. The team modified the questions and answer choices depending on the input after each interview. They refined the questions by consulting with other reproductive health experts who had previously created comparable surveys.

The team reviewed qualitative replies multiple times to become acquainted with the content, found the initial codes, and organized them into pertinent topics. They thoroughly analyzed and named the themes. The primary researcher led the analysis, which included discussions regarding theme allocation. Some pupils provided brief remarks, but most submitted lengthy ones. They analyzed qualitative data thematically and used descriptive statistics and chi-squared tests to examine quantitative data.

Results

Among the participants, 64% wanted to be parents, and 49% planned to have two children. Students preferring not to be a parent cite the world's unstable and unsettled state, parental anxiety, the belief that children are unnecessary, and unpleasant connections with gestation and delivery. A few female participants were concerned about the challenges and risks of pregnancy and childbirth, thinking that the procedure would permanently harm their bodies and have a negative influence on their psychological well-being afterward.

Many students (45%) were apprehensive about having children, citing fears about their capacity to have healthy children and the life their children could lead. The team identified the following six themes in their replies to the question on motherhood concerns: worries, self-doubt, health and well-being, significant investment, impediments to personal objectives, and non-inclusiveness for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ+) education.

Students questioned their abilities to be good parents, reflecting fear and self-doubt of being labeled as bad parents. They believed that becoming a parent would entail several financial and emotional commitments for which they were unprepared. Some students with hereditary medical issues were concerned about becoming parents since they did not want their offspring to inherit their conditions.

For several reasons, some students choose adoption over having their children. Some people stated anxiety about pregnancy and labor, and they wished to adopt it to prevent the mental and physical strains of it. Students from the LGBTQ+ category considered adoption a more feasible choice for having children than using expensive aided reproductive techniques. Students frequently dread having children by mistake because they lack awareness regarding conception rates and abortion methods. They are also concerned about their spouse leaving or filing for divorce after having children and the likelihood that their offspring would have impairments, genetic disorders, be unhealthy, or be LGBT.

Conclusion

Overall, the study findings revealed the parenting concerns of 16- to 18-year-old English school students, emphasizing the necessity for a specialized reproductive health and sex education program. Fears and uncertainties about motherhood impact their decision-making, with many female students expressing disinterest owing to pregnancy and delivery issues. Inadequate fertility education increases students' unfavorable views regarding reproduction. The study recommends interdisciplinary training focusing on climate and biological interconnections to emphasize fertility rates and resources.

Journal reference:
Pooja Toshniwal Paharia

Written by

Pooja Toshniwal Paharia

Dr. based clinical-radiological diagnosis and management of oral lesions and conditions and associated maxillofacial disorders.

Citations

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Toshniwal Paharia, Pooja Toshniwal Paharia. (2024, February 15). What are your concerns about the possibility of having children? Survey of parenthood intentions for 16–18-year-old students. News-Medical. Retrieved on April 21, 2024 from https://www.news-medical.net/news/20240215/What-are-your-concerns-about-the-possibility-of-having-children-Survey-of-parenthood-intentions-for-16e2809318-year-old-students.aspx.

  • MLA

    Toshniwal Paharia, Pooja Toshniwal Paharia. "What are your concerns about the possibility of having children? Survey of parenthood intentions for 16–18-year-old students". News-Medical. 21 April 2024. <https://www.news-medical.net/news/20240215/What-are-your-concerns-about-the-possibility-of-having-children-Survey-of-parenthood-intentions-for-16e2809318-year-old-students.aspx>.

  • Chicago

    Toshniwal Paharia, Pooja Toshniwal Paharia. "What are your concerns about the possibility of having children? Survey of parenthood intentions for 16–18-year-old students". News-Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/news/20240215/What-are-your-concerns-about-the-possibility-of-having-children-Survey-of-parenthood-intentions-for-16e2809318-year-old-students.aspx. (accessed April 21, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Toshniwal Paharia, Pooja Toshniwal Paharia. 2024. What are your concerns about the possibility of having children? Survey of parenthood intentions for 16–18-year-old students. News-Medical, viewed 21 April 2024, https://www.news-medical.net/news/20240215/What-are-your-concerns-about-the-possibility-of-having-children-Survey-of-parenthood-intentions-for-16e2809318-year-old-students.aspx.

Comments

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment
Post

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
Exercise boosts beneficial hormone transfer in breastfeeding mothers