Adult Attitudes of Shame and Stigma Toward Adolescent Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted diseases

Victoria Patrello, The College of Wooster


Despite the available resources, the United States still has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease (STD) contraction. Although there is an abundant amount of literature on adolescent attitudes toward teen pregnancy and STD contraction, there is limited research on adult attitudes toward these issues. The overarching goal of the present study was to develop a psychometric scale that assessed adult attitudes (shame and stigma) toward teen pregnancy and STD contraction. It was predicted that four factors would emerge (i.e. stigma, shame, pregnancy, and STD). Participants were recruited through an online program and were asked to complete a 20-minute questionnaire. An exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was conducted in order to determine the number of factors. The results of the study showed that only stigma and shame emerged as separate factors. Thus, the results suggested that adult attitudes toward teen pregnancy and STD contraction were similar in nature. Implications of this study and it's limitations, such as lack of variability among participants, are discussed.