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The Role of Psychological Factors

Marilyn B. Benoit, M.D.

Secretary, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Clinical Associate Professor, George Washington University Medical Center Department of Psychology


Psychological Factors

  • The parents we are discussing are NOT adults

  • Typically, they have not been adequately nurtured

  • Sexual behavior masquerades as adult behavior--while meeting needs for closeness and nurturance

 

Psychological Factors

  • Teenagers are impulsive and tend to seek immediate gratification

  • A sense of future and the motivation to pursue future goals provides some restraint on impulses

  • The prevailing "neighborhood" culture that finds teenage motherhood/fatherhood acceptable is facilitating

 

Psychological Factors

  • Major Psychiatric Illness is a factor to be considered (Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Substance Abuse, Impulse Control Disorder).
  • Mental Retardation, learning disabilities

 

Social Factors

  • Non-judgmental attitudes about pre-marital sex and out of wedlock pregnancies are facilitating

  • Teenagers need clear directives to counteract above

  • Influence best achieved in context of nurturing relationship


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