Date of Award

1994

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Michael F. Burnett

Abstract

The primary purpose of this study was to determine the influence of knowledge of teenage pregnancy/parenting, open-mindedness, and selected demographic characteristics on the attitudes of home economics teachers toward teenage pregnancy/parenting. The target population for the study was defined as secondary school home economics teachers employed in Louisiana during the 1993-94 school year. A simple random sample of 200 teachers was selected from the defined population. The instrument used in this study consisted of four parts. The first part was the Adolescent Parents Attitude Scale and was used to measure attitudes toward pregnant adolescents and school-age parents. The second part of the instrument was the Rokeach Dogmatism Scale which was used to determine the respondents' degree of open-mindedness. The third part of the instrument consisted of the Adolescent Parenthood Knowledge Inventory and was utilized to measure level of knowledge regarding adolescent pregnancy/parenting. Finally, the fourth part of the instrument was a demographic survey including selected personal and school characteristics. Data were collected by mailed questionnaire. After three mailings and a telephone contact, the researcher received a 96% useable response rate. Findings of the study revealed that home economics teachers teach a large number of pregnant students and have positive attitudes toward pregnant adolescents. In addition, home economics teachers were found to be slightly open-minded. Multiple regression analysis was used to identify a model which explained 26.4% of the variance in the attitudes of home economics teachers toward pregnant adolescents. The six variables that contributed significantly to the model included: open-mindedness/dogmatism, number of pregnant teens taught, number of in-service programs attended, age, whether or not the teacher was married, and whether or not the teacher was widowed. In addition, teachers with more knowledge regarding teen pregnancy tended to have more positive attitudes toward pregnant adolescents (r =.14, p =.03). Also, home economics teachers that are more open-minded tend to have more positive attitudes toward pregnant adolescents (r =.39, p =.001). The researcher recommended that the home economics program in Louisiana place a greater emphasis on the role it can play in addressing the problem of teen pregnancy/parenting.

Pages

117

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