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J Adolesc Health Care. 1990 Mar;11(2):107-13.

Differential characteristics of adolescent pregnancy test patients: abortion, childbearing and negative test groups.

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Department of Population Dynamics, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland.


Studies of the consequences of adolescent childbearing report many negative sequelae, but the effects of induced abortion are less studied, and most studies lack appropriate controls for preexisting characteristics. This paper uses baseline data from the intake interview into a longitudinal study of 360 innercity black women (less than or equal to 17 years old) presenting for a pregnancy test at two sites in Baltimore to examine baseline differences between three groups: young women who terminated the index pregnancy and, as controls, those who carried to term and those whose tests were negative. They were interviewed before being told the test result. Education aspirations/achievement, economic well-being, sexual/contraceptive history, psychologic characteristics, and desire for a child were compared. Negative test patients often reveal characteristics suggesting a particularly high risk of pregnancy, e.g., more prior pregnancy tests and a greater desire to conceive. Implications are discussed, emphasizing the need to intervene after a negative pregnancy test with counseling to help avert a future undesired conception.


Studies of the consequences of teenage childbearing have found negative outcomes, but the effects of induced abortion have not been studied as much. More should be found out about the adolescents who choose abortion, and how they compare with those who choose to have the baby; and those who are no pregnant. Most studies do not have "appropriate controls" for preexisting characteristics. This report uses baseline data from the interviews of a longitudinal study of 360 inner city Black teenagers (or= 17 years) who went for a pregnancy test at 2 places in Baltimore, Maryland. Differences between 3 groups were studied: 1) teenagers who had an abortion; 2) those who carried to term; and 3) those who had negative tests. The last 2 were control groups. They were interviewed before being given the test results, and before they chose an outcome. The 2-year longitudinal study followed 360 young women who came for pregnancy tests at Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Child Care Unit; or Planned Parenthood of Maryland. Those who terminated pregnancy numbered 114; those who had a baby numbered 93; and 100 had negative tests. This was their 1st pregnancy. Mean age at entry was 16.1. There was a somewhat greater economic status among those adolescents who chose abortion. Fewer of those who had babies were in school. The abortion group received fewer medical services in the past year. Psychological differences are shown in tabular form, as in the history of sexual, pregnancy, and pregnancy tests. Abortion and childbearing attitudes are given.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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