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Am J Prev Med. 1999 May;16(4):318-21.

Rapid repeat pregnancy and experiences of interpersonal violence among low-income adolescents.

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Department of Family Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48109-0708, USA.



Rapid repeat pregnancy (RRP) among adolescents, usually defined as pregnancy onset within 12-24 months of the previous pregnancy outcome, has frequently been the target of public health interventions, due to the exacerbation of negative consequences associated with recurrent adolescent pregnancy (and more specifically with childbearing).


To examine what, if any, relationship exists between RRP and the experience of interpersonal violence and abuse among low-income adolescents at one semi-urban health center.


Case-control study using retrospective chart review.


100 women aged 13-21 who received prenatal care at one independent nonprofit health center that serves adolescents and their children from June 1994 through June 1996.


Number and timing of pregnancies, occurrence of physical or sexual abuse; other psychosocial risk factors were evaluated.


In this population, the experience of any form of physical or sexual violence during the study interval was associated with RRP within 12 months (p = 0.01, OR = 3.46) and 18 months (p = 0.013, OR = 4.29). Other previously reported predictors of RRP, including family stress, financial stress, and other environmental stressors did not reach statistical significance at either 12 months or 18 months in this sample. Of additional note, young women who experienced any form of abuse during the 12-month study interval were substantially more likely to miscarry than were their nonabused peers, and spontaneous abortion was also very strongly associated with RRP (p < 0.00001; OR = 22.6).


The experience of interpersonal violence is correlated with rapid repeat pregnancy among low-income adolescents. This study strongly suggests a need for both extensive screening for partner and family violence among pregnant and postpartum adolescents, and follow-up safety planning support in combination with family planning interventions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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