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Pediatrics. 1997 Nov;100(5):802-9.

Adolescent childbearing revisited: the age of inner-city mothers at delivery is a determinant of their children's self-sufficiency at age 27 to 33.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, The Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University, School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.



Data from recent interviews with 1758 inner-city children, born between 1960 to 1965 and followed with their mothers in the Pathways to Adulthood Study to age 27 to 33 years, were used to address two related questions. 1) Is maternal age, across the reproductive age range, a determinant of child's adult outcome? and 2) Do covariates of maternal age at delivery reduce or eliminate the effect of maternal age on child's adult outcome?


An intergenerational life course model of development identified significant maternal and child characteristics at birth associated with the child's self-sufficient outcomes in adulthood: education (more than or equal to a high school diploma); financial independence of public support; and delay of first birth until age 20 or older. Bivariate and multiple logistic regression techniques were used to identify independent relationships between dependent and independent variables and to adjust the outcomes to compensate for the effect of possible confounding of maternal age at delivery by maternal education, parity, poverty status, and the child's race and gender.


Each covariate was independently associated with maternal age at delivery. Adjustment for their effects reduced, but did not eliminate, the association between maternal age at birth and the child's outcome at age 27 to 33 years. As a group, children of the oldest mothers (>/=25 years of age) had the most favorable outcomes, and those of teenage mothers (<20 years of age) had the least favorable outcomes; 22% of daughters and 6% of sons of the oldest mothers versus 38% and 18%, respectively, of the youngest mothers became teenage parents.


The mother's age at delivery is an independent determinant of the child's adult status.

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