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The designation of teen mothers includes young women who give birth before they turn 20 years of age and who accept at least partial responsibility for raising their children. Despite the precision afforded by classification based on chronological age, classification by age is arbitrary from developmental and sociocultural perspectives. Differences in physiological, social, and psychological maturation mean that some teens may be prepared for motherhood but other young women may not be ready until well into their 20s. Viewing the transition to motherhood through a sociocultural lens provides a more complete picture than a perspective based solely on chronological age. This entry summarizes these sociocultural contexts, compares rates by geographic area, reviews the causes and consequences of teen motherhood, touches on the impact of stigma, ...

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