All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Susan L Davies

Advisory Committee Members

Bradley E Lian

Tina Y Simpson

Stuart Usdan

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2009

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Public Health

Abstract

Rapid repeat pregnancy is defined as having a subsequent pregnancy within 2 years of the first. In the United States, approximately 30-50% of adolescent mothers will experience a repeat pregnancy within 12 to 24 months of the first birth (Sangalang, Barth, & Painter, 2006; Coard, Nitz, & Felice, 2000). The negative implications of adolescents having a first birth--most notably in the areas of "health, career, and economic conditions" (Khalili, 2005, p. 19)--are compounded when a second pregnancy occurs (Key, Barbosa, & Owens, 2001). This exploratory study addressed one of the primary gaps in the literature related to rapid repeat adolescent pregnancy: the lack of a distinction between the predictors of first and higher-order pregnancies. The study addressed the following questions: 1. What are the patterns of adolescent childbearing within a low-income population? 2. What factors predict a first pregnancy within this population? 3. What factors predict a rapid repeat pregnancy within this population? The study first explored childbearing patterns within the study population comprised of low-income female adolescents living in Mobile, Alabama, to arrive at a community-level probability of adolescents' experience of pregnancy and parenting. The second phase identified, using a set of theoretically relevant variables, the predictors of a first pregnancy among the study population. These variables were related to risky behavior, future orientation, rules and consequences, education, relationship with parents, and attitudes, feelings, and beliefs. The third and final phase of the study used these same variables measured prior to and following an adolescent's first pregnancy to predict whether she would experience a rapid repeat pregnancy. The present study is unique in that it identified predictors of a first pregnancy as well as predictors of a rapid repeat pregnancy using data collected before the adolescent ever reported a first pregnancy. This is the first study of this type.

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