Since 1974, the pregnancy rate among Canadian teenagers aged 15-19 has declined by about 20%. According to a Statistics Canada report this may be due to a greater awareness of the health risks involved with having unsafe sex and the greater availability of condoms. (Buske, L., 2001).
Even though pregnancy rates have declined, adolescent teenage pregnancy still remains a problem. In 1997 the pregnancy rate was 42.7 pregnancies per 1000 women aged 15-19. (Dryburgh, 2003). Canada’s pregnancy rate is considered moderate in comparison with other industrialized countries.
This means that although rates are not high, like in the US, more should be done to make the rates low, as in countries like Sweden and Norway. (Singh & Darroch, 2000). In order to lower the rate of teen pregnancy, the antecedents must be understood.
There is a vast amount of research from different disciplines on the antecedents to teen pregnancy. Some researchers have focused on the antecedents of pregnancy while others focused on the antecedents to contraceptive use, but ultimately the variables identified have often been the same. These variables range from cognitive, cultural, biological, parental, and academic. (Holden, et al., 1993) In Kirby’s 2002 review of the literature on teen pregnancy, he states that:
“…although these antecedents increase or decrease the chances of individuals engaging in sexual intercourse, failing to use contraception or becoming pregnant, nearly all youth experience some pressures, either internal or external, to have sex and are at risk of engaging in sex and becoming pregnant.” (p. 475)