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J Adolesc Health. 2009 Jan;44(1):25-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2008.06.003. Epub 2008 Oct 18.

The role of mental health factors, behavioral factors, and past experiences in the prediction of rapid repeat pregnancy in adolescence.

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  • 1Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.



This study investigates the predictors of rapid repeat pregnancy (subsequent pregnancy within 24 months of previous pregnancy outcome) in a sample of urban adolescents.


Adolescents aged 12-19 years (N = 354) who were predominantly African-American (94.1%) completed individual interviews during pregnancy and at 24 months postpartum. Logistic regression was used to determine the relationship among mental health factors, behavioral factors, and negative life experiences in the prediction of rapid repeat pregnancy.


Of the adolescents, 42% (n = 147) of adolescents reported a rapid repeat pregnancy. Baseline reports of later age at menarche (12.43 vs. 11.91; p = .003) and a greater likelihood of aggression were significantly associated with having a rapid repeat pregnancy within 24 months. Age at menarche and self-reported aggression contributed independently to the prediction of a closely spaced second pregnancy (p < .05).


It is suggested that pubertal onset and individual mental health as it relates to measures of aggression should be considered when developing programs targeting adolescents at highest risk for rapid repeat pregnancy.

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