Fathers' groups have argued for some time now that the presence of fathers within intact families discourages teenage pregnancy.
Confirmation of this claim has come in a Victorian study by Professor Julie Quinlivan of the University of Melbourne. Her research shows that more than half of teenage mothers lost a father to divorce before the age of five. This compares to just 8% of older mothers losing a father to divorce before the age of five.
This is a huge statistical gap. Professor Quinlivan thinks it is caused by the desire of some teenage girls to create their own families as quickly as possible to compensate for the insecurity of their own family background (Professor Quinlivan found that at least a third of teenage pregnancies are deliberately planned - they aren't just the result of "accidents" or lack of knowledge of contraception).
Which means that fathers can play an important stabilising role in the lives of their daughters and help prevent their 15 or 16 year old daughters from deliberately choosing to become teenage mums.
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