According to Wall-Wieler, this study is the first ever to probe that question. Absent those answers, the link between circumstance of birth and opportunity might remain as stubborn as ever. Read: The decline of American motherhood. This positive trend might come with a major caveat: The effects of teen pregnancies generations ago, new research suggests, are still being felt. Compared with peers whose parents gave birth later, this child is at a greater risk of being born prematurely , of struggling to acquire basic skills such as literacy and self-control, and of underperforming in school. And the baby might encounter those circumstances more acutely, because teen motherhood itself can create new layers of hardship for both parent and child. A peer-reviewed study recently published in the journal PLOS One finds that having a grandmother who had her first kid as a teen is a strong predictor for whether a child will underperform in school—even for a child whose own mother gave birth as an adult, not a teenager.
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