American Sociological Association

Social Networks and Educational Attainment among Adolescents Experiencing Pregnancy

Pregnant adolescents are a population at risk for dropout and have been found to complete fewer years of education than peers. Pregnant girls’ social experience in school may be a factor in their likelihood to persist, as social integration is thought to buffer dropout risk. Pregnant teens have been found to have fewer friends than their peers, but the academic ramifications of these social differences have yet to be studied. In this study the author examines whether friendship networks are associated with the relationship between adolescent pregnancy and educational attainment. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health and multilevel models, the author specifically explores associations between high school graduation and reported friendships, friendship reciprocation, and network centrality. Having more friends and greater centrality in one’s school prior to pregnancy are associated with reduced risk for high school dropout compared with more socially isolated pregnant teens.


Elizabeth Humberstone