Adolescence, although not always necessarily a period of extreme stress, is a time of profound physical changes which increase the adolescent's awareness of and interest in sexual behavior. This issue of sexuality, which begins in early adolescence, creates new challenges to personal and gender identity formation as the person matures. Sexual maturation is a three-fold process, requiring growth in understanding of oneself as a sexual being, in the ability to handle interpersonal relationships effectively, and in the capacity to plan behavior in view of future outcomes and present problems. A current concern is that today's adolescents, including early adolescents, may be making important life choices such as parenthood before they are developmentally ready for such roles (Chilman, 1980). This paper deals with pregnancy in adolescents and modes of responding to this phenomenon by those in the counseling and other helping professions.
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