Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Robert O. Slater


The purpose of this dissertation is to construct and test an elaborated version of the social integration-deviance model. Social integration theory traces its origins to Emile Durkheim, who postulated the existence of two forms of social integration, today known as normative and functional integration. In his classic work Suicide (1897/1951) Durkheim first empirically tested his theory of social integration, though arguably only for normative integration. Others have since elaborated on his theory, and have tested various versions of it (Hirschi, 1969; Collette, Webb, & Smith, 1979). The current work conceptualizes teenage childbearing in the United States as deviancy from an American parenting schedule. It postulates that education is a key socializing instrument for securing conformity to societal parenting norms. It is hypothesized that the mechanisms of normative and functional social integration operate through the educational system to restrict teenage childbearing. The study uses 1980 county level information obtained from U.S. Vital Statistics data, and U.S. Census data (County Statistics File-3) that were in part made available for use by the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR). Path models for white and black teenage fertility showing the direct effects of independent on dependent variables were created using SAS computer software. It was found that decreasing normative and increasing functional integration positively affected the county level of education, which in turn had a negative effect of teen birthrates. Education had an inverse effect on white nonmarital teenage fertility: as educational level increased, so did the proportion of nonmarital white teen births. Though the findings were in a similar direction for both models, the magnitude of the effects was much stronger for whites than for blacks. Overall, a substantial proportion of the variance of white teenage fertility was explained by this study's version of the social integration-deviance model. The model explained a statistically significant, yet substantially smaller proportion of the variance of black teenage fertility. This was not unexpected, since it is postulated that social integrative forces exercise weakened influence on black parenting behavior.