16 and Pregnant is eight episodes into it's fifth season, with the most recent episode airing yesterday May 2, 2014. The program centers around pregnant teens across the country in their journey into unexpected parenthood.
Ever since the show premiered in 2009, viewers have questioned the show's influence on younger viewers. One argument is that a program following real-life pregnant teens would actually lower the teen pregnancy rate in America. Another is that the show merely makes teens associate getting pregnant with instant fame, thus inspiring them to take after the MTV stars.
As a result of all the controversy, scholars began studying the MTV hit in search of answers.
After five seasons of new teenage parents, there seems to be a general consensus.
According to The Washington Post in April 2014, Professor Melissa Kearney's study of the show finds that that program ultimately discourages teens from getting pregnant. Kearney claims that the show resulted in a five percent decline in babies born to teenagers.
Such findings will probably ease the concerns of parents who are worried about letting their children watch the program. As a result, viewership might even increase.
While the show's spin-off Teen Mom ended in 2012, the release of this study, as well as the show's ability to draw controversy, makes it likely that 16 and Pregnant will be renewed for season six.
Episode nine of 16 and Pregnant season five will air on MTV Monday, June 9, 2014 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.