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vol.22 issue7Considering and submitting to abortion among young people in the context of legal prohibition: the hidden side of teenage pregnancyInduced abortion during youth: social inequalities in the outcome of the first pregnancy author indexsubject indexarticles search
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Cadernos de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1678-4464Print version ISSN 0102-311X


BRANDAO, Elaine Reis  and  HEILBORN, Maria Luiza. Middle-class teenage sexuality and pregnancy in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2006, vol.22, n.7, pp.1421-1430. ISSN 1678-4464.

The subject of this paper is teenage pregnancy among middle-class youth, a topic not sufficiently studied in Brazil. The paper is based on a qualitative, socio-anthropological study of 14 middle-class families in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, whose children have remained single, living with their parents after the child's birth. A total of 25 in-depth interviews were conducted with 6 young men and 7 young women, ages 18 to 24, and their parents (11 mothers, one father), to examine the event in retrospect and its impact on these young people and their families. Three aspects are analyzed: difficulties young people face in internalizing contraception as a norm; late discovery of pregnancy; and how the decision to either have an abortion or give birth is made by young people and their parents. This research allows seeing teenage pregnancy as an event that hinges on the process of constructing a young person's autonomy, in which sexuality plays a prominent role. Concluding, the phenomenon should be analyzed in a specific historical and cultural context, with changes over the decades in the rules underlying the process of individualization among young people.

Keywords : Pregnancy in Adolescence; Sexuality; Gender Identity.

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