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Data gathered over the course of a 25-year longitudinal study of 1,055
young people was used to examine gender differences in the onset of early
parenthood and the developmental processes that place males and females at
risk of becoming a young parent. Results revealed clear gender differences
in the timing of early parenthood, with females being twice as likely as
males to become a parent between the ages of 16 and 25 years. In contrast,
the risk factors and life course processes that placed males and females
at risk of an early transition to parenthood were very similar. Two
exceptions were a gender-specific effect for maternal age and exposure to
parental change, suggesting that having been raised by a younger mother
and having experienced parental changes in your family of origin increased
risks of early parenthood for females but not males. These findings
contribute to our understanding of the effects of gender on life course
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