Interesting Population to Work With
According to Hulme and Blegen (2010), Appalachia is a cultural group that is found in Appalachian region. The Appalachian region stretches from Northern Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama to New York State’s Southern Tier. This region hosts a population of 23 million persons but even with this big population the region has suffered isolation. The Appalachians are viewed as a very temperamental people with undesired behaviors. Many writers have revealed that the Appalachia community is prone to violence and education level is very low. In deed most of the West Coast and East Costs and popular media have constantly portrayed the image of the Appalachia region as a culturally backward community. this stereotyping continue to exists even when the researches by socialists revealed that the occupants of Appalachia region are not typically backward as dispelled by earlier studies. Appalachia region is endowed with varied natural resources including the Appalachia Mountains which stretch from Cheaha Mountain in the United States to Belle Island in Canada (Hulme and Blegen, 2010). However, with these natural resources, Appalachia community is well known for their poverty. The population hardly benefitted from the coal mining and the logging that was introduced in the 20th century. The federal government realized the need to end poverty in this region and created the above two industries, but the Appalachia community didn’t capitalize on the long term benefits. Therefore, the federal government sought new deal initiatives like constructing dam and fostering better farming to provide cheap electricity and end food insecurity. In addition, the Appalachia Regional Commission was established in the mid 1960s to help in alleviating poverty in the region by improving on the health care and enhancing education opportunities. However, with all these initiatives, the Appalachia community is still behind the rest of other communities, and entire nation as a whole in terms of the economic indicators. In deed the Appalachia community has lagged behind in education partly due to their cultural beliefs and poverty has greatly affected the area, making teen pregnancy in the area a stressing thing to deal with.
Cognitive development is a field in psychology which deals with development in children. As a field in psychology, it covers aspects of information processing, brain development, conceptual resources, language learning and perceptual skill. Cognitive development looks at these aspects in comparison to adult’s point of view. Therefore, this field particularly looks at how a child sees his/her world. To better understand children’s development, Jean Piaget formed Piaget theory of development which theorized about the development and nature of human intelligence. This theory deals with the nature of knowledge and Piegat organized it into development stages. It also focuses on the way the knowledge is acquired, constructed and even how it is used. Thus according to Piaget’s theory, cognitive development is the way people reorganizes their mental processes following biological maturation, coupled with the environmental experience. Thus as children develops, they construct a great knowledge of the environment around them, and as they mature they experience and discover their environment further, and in the process they experience discrepancies of what they know and their new discoveries. Most of the Piegats theoretical claims have been disowned by the modern theorists, but the fact that children develops and gain understanding of the reality as they mature has been accepted even in the modern era. Thus, according to Piegat development proceeds in four stages, Sensorimoter stage where he noted that infants are given birth to with a set of congenital reflexes and motives to explore their new environment. Preoperational stage where he established that children develops a different set of psychological functioning at 2 years, and the third stage he noted is the concrete operational stage which occurs from age 7 to 11 years. Here he noted that children develop logic which is very important for child development. The last stage that Piegat identified is the formal operation stage, where he noted that children after 11 years through adulthood develop abstractive thinking and use the information available to make conclusions. In fact he established that in this stage, the adolescents function in a normal cognitive way and can understand lots of things including love language (Brunner, 2006).
Limitations According to Erickson
Erickson noted the limitation in cognitive theory. He stated that cognitive theory has failed to address controversy between nature and nurture. This is because there are notable gene activities and interactions between the events and the experiences that a child encounters throughout his development stages. He also noted that the cognitive theory Piegat assumes that development takes place in four stages, yet development is not smooth. Instead, development is influenced by many thinks including culture and social experiences because these changes an individual’s thinking. Erickson also noted that as an individual matures, there is development of ego identity. The ego identity in this case will develop depending with the individual’s social interactions, new experience and information that the person acquires during these interactions. Thus unlike the cognitive development theory where the development is seen as a continuous process that is uniform for all through the four stages, Erickson identifies that development will depend with the individuals successful completion of the earlier stages (Brunner, 2006).
Chelsea a mother of two gave birth when she was 16; this changed her priorities in life. Like other teenagers she cried a lot when she realized that she is pregnant. Chelsea mother never talked to her about sex when she was a teenager and this she accounts for as one of the factors that contributed to her pregnancy. Her mother felt uncomfortable with the sex talk and she left it for the school curriculum. Chelsea’s friends are also teen mothers making the percentage in the Appalachia area to stand at approximately 13% of teen pregnancies. Students in Appalachia are uncomfortable with the sex education topic even in the curriculum and this makes it difficult for teachers, as noted by one of the teachers in Appalachia. Chelsea took sex education course in school but she has pointed out that this course never helped her. However teen mothers programs that have been established in the area have contributed into making these mothers view life positively (Fry, 2012).
According to Guttmarcher Institute (2012), the number of teenage pregnancies varies from region to region. The highest teenage pregnancies are experienced in the Sub-Saharan Africa at 14.3% whereas the least are experienced in South Korea, at 2.9%. Additionally, 13 million children are born annually by women under 20%, and the developing countries accounts to 10%. According to researchers conducted on OECD countries, it was established that United Kingdom and United States contributes to the biggest percentage of these teen pregnancies. This is because by 15 years, 25% of the children have already indulged in sexual activities and by 17 years 50% more teens engages in sexual activities. Nearly 1 million American below age 20 years become pregnant every year, 750000 occur between age 15 and 19 years. However, two thirds of these births occur between 18 and 19 years. Thus, approximately 3 in every 10 young women in the America are likely to get pregnant. Of these teen pregnancies Appalachia contributes the highest due to low education and high poverty levels. Here 4 in every 10 young women below 20 years become pregnant and this has been estimated to be nearly 13% teen births annually (Fry, 2012).
According to Hulme and Blegen (2010), poverty rates in Appalachia are amongst the highest in the nation. They are ranging from 16 to 27%. Poverty at regional and household level contributes greatly to high rates of teen pregnancy in Appalachia. Poverty makes these teen vulnerable and expose them to risks of rape and being lured to cheap sex. Also poverty expose these teens to pregnancy because of the hope that when they are married they will be in a position to overcome their poverty. In addition, poverty prevents people from acquiring complete education. Even with the educated, poverty hinders them from accessing contraceptives. Education has got a strong role to play in teen pregnancy in Appalachia. Education level in the region is very low and this has greatly contributed to the high rates of teen age pregnancy. To start with, education which lacks for some of the Appalachians delays the time an individual is likely to get pregnant because most of the time the person will be in school, till after teenage. Secondly, education informs person on the risks that are likely to results when an individual becomes pregnant at a young age. Furthermore, when people are not well educated they can’t practice safe sex leading to teen pregnancies. Additionally, in schools there are education programs which enlighten students on the need to avoid risky behaviors which are likely to predispose an individual to early sexual activities as well as risky sexual behaviors (Fry, 2012).
In conclusion, isolation and living in remote areas have been pointed as a contribution to teen sex. This is because these teens can’t access services that they need. In these areas there are no accessible contraceptives for the teens. Due to poverty they might not afford these birth controls and with the lack of access they engage in unsafe sex knowing that they are risking. In addition, it is against the Appalachia culture to openly talk about sex, making most of the mothers to feel embarrassed talking about this topic.
Bruner, J. (2006). Studies in Cognitive Growth: A collaboration at the Center for Cognitive Studies. New York: Wiley & Sons.
Fry, L. (2012). Teen Pregnancy in Appalachia. You tube. Retrieved on 17th/11/2012 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMZEGozyGyA
Guttemacher Institute (2012). In Brief Facts on American Sexual and Reproductive Health. Guttemarcher Institute. Retrieved on 17th/11/2012 from http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/FB-ATSRH.html
Hulme, P. A., and Blegen, M. A. (2010). Residential Status and Birth Outcomes: Is the Rural/Urban Distinction Adequate? Public Health Nurse. Vol. 16(3), pp. 176-181.