Study: US reality shows contributed to record decline in teen pregnancy


A study from Wellesley College and the University of Maryland finds that MTV’s Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant contributed to a record decline in US teen pregnancy. This conclusion is in stark contrast to research reported on last week, which claimed that reality shows, particularly Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant, gave young viewers unrealistic ideas about teen pregnancy and are probably a “contributing factor” to the problem.

The new study, coauthored by Wellesley College economist Phillip B. Levine and University of Maryland economist Melissa Schettini Kearney, found Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant led to a 5.7 percent reduction in teen pregnancies from 2009 to 2010.

Teen pregnancies in the US are currently at an all-time low, declining significantly between the years 2008 and 2012, with the recession thought to be largely responsible for the dip. However, Levine and Kearney were curious if the timing of the airing of Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant had any influence.

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via Ars Technica


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