Project duration:  2017 10 02 – 2019 10 31
Project leader: dr. Gintarė Pociūtė-Sereikienė

This project is dealing with adolescent fertility – social phenomenon that is associated with a number of negative consequences for both the mother and infant. Girls, who have their first child before the age of 20, often drop out of the education system, seldom acquire a secondary or higher education and in consequence are often faced with poor economic situation and poverty, or are involved into the group of families at social risk. Pregnant teenagers are more likely than older women to suffer a miscarriage, experience still birth. Babies of teen mothers have a lower birth weight and a higher morbidity rate than infants of older mothers. Because of these reasons, the analysis of adolescent fertility is important not only demographically, but also from a point of view of public health and social wellbeing. Lithuania is characterized by large regional differentiation of adolescent fertility rate (AFR), therefore, the aim of the project is to explore the spatial differentiation of adolescent fertility in Lithuania, determine individual, family, community-level and regional socio-economic factors associated with it and unravel the role of sex education. Adolescent fertility will be analysed on all levels of sociological analysis: macro, mezzo and micro. Macro analysis will entail cartographical analysis of Lithuanian regions (on the level of wards) by AFR (based on 2001 and 2011 census data) and the study of the relationship between AFR and regional socioeconomic indicators. Mezzo (family, community) level factors will be determined through semi-structured interviews with social workers and schools’ representatives in problem districts. Lastly, individual experiences of teenage childbearing and micro level factors that affect adolescent fertility will be explored with the help of semi-structured interviews with girls who had their child(ren) in adolescence. Results of the project will make a significant contribution to the scientific knowledge of adolescent fertility in Lithuania and will also notably complement the scientific knowledge about determinants of adolescent fertility at international level. On a more practical level the results of the study would serve as a basis for the preparation of social policy recommendations for reducing AFR in the country and managing its regional differentiation.