Teenage boys' attitudes to risky sex 'can help predict their what type of father they will be'

The study asked young men to respond to statements such as: 'If you had sexual intercourse, your friends would respect you more'

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Young men less concerned about risky sex are 30 per cent more likely to to live apart from their children, a study has found.

Researchers from the Feinburg School of Medicine at Northwestern University studied young men over a 14 year period to find out if it was possible to predict if they would become teen fathers.

Prior research has found that men who become teen fathers are less likely to finish their school education and are more likely to have lower-income jobs.

The study asked young men to respond to statements such as "If you had sexual intercourse, your friends would respect you more," "It wouldn't be all that bad if you got someone pregnant at this time in your life," and "Using birth control interferes with sexual enjoyment." 

Their scores were then correlated with their subsequent fatherhood status to discover how their teenage understanding and attitudes towards sex impacted their later lives.

Dr Craig Garfield said: "I was very surprised that, based on what adolescent males tell us in their teenage years, we could predict whether they would later become a teen father or a nonresident father.

"Much of the male-focused research to date has mostly looked at risky behaviour and STIs.

"We're expanding male reproductive health across the lifespan and beginning to see how early beliefs relate to later outcomes and health, including fatherhood."

He added: "We can intervene so these young men don't go on to become teen fathers and are less likely to become nonresident fathers

"That's a role the school system and health care workers can play when seeing young men for physicals.

"Together we can help young men think about their futures."

This study, entitled "Adolescent Reproductive Knowledge, Attitudes and Beliefs and Future Fatherhood", was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

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