Evidence from the study on Tayside shows many young women who deliberately get pregnant do so as a means of moving into adulthood.
NHS Tayside carried out the research to gain a better understanding of young pregnant women, given the region's historically high rates of teenage pregnancy.
Ann Eriksen, executive lead in sexual health at the health board, said the research found the motivation for young women wanting to get pregnant "was very much around looking for love, looking for affection, looking for someone they could love unconditionally, that would love them in return.
She added: "There was also something around gaining recognition and status within families, within their communities, where some of the young women might not see that in terms of educational attainment, or indeed in terms of employment. So having a baby is also like being recognised as moving into adulthood."