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Fam Plann Perspect. 1997 Sep-Oct;29(5):200-3, 227.

Adolescent pregnancy and sexual risk-taking among sexually abused girls.

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  • 1School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, USA.


Data on 3,128 girls in grades eight, 10 and 12 who participated in the 1992 Washington State Survey of Adolescent Health Behaviors were used to analyze the association of a self-reported history of sexual abuse with teenage pregnancy and with sexual behavior that increases the risk of adolescent pregnancy. In analyses adjusting for grade level, respondents who had been sexually abused were 3.1 times as likely as those who had not been abused to say they had ever been pregnant; in multivariate analyses, respondents who had experienced abuse were 2.3 times as likely as others to have had intercourse but were not more likely than other sexually active respondents to have been pregnant. However, those with a history of sexual abuse were more likely to report having had intercourse by age 15 (odds ratio, 2.1), not using birth control at last intercourse (2.0) and having had more than one sexual partner (1.4). Thus, an association between sexual abuse and teenage pregnancy appears to be the result of high-risk behavior exhibited by adolescent girls who have been abused.

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