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J Adolesc Health. 1998 Jan;22(1):50-5.

Pregnancy and other risk behaviors among adolescent girls in Ohio.

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1
Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Ohio 44195, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

The purpose of this study was to determine whether teenage girls who had been pregnant were more likely to engage in other risk or problem behaviors than girls who had had sexual intercourse without becoming pregnant.

METHODS:

The 1993 Ohio Youth Risk Behavior Survey was administered to a random sample of 2461 high school students. A subset of 592 girls (mean age 16.1 +/- 1.1 years, 69.2% Caucasian, 24.1% African-American, 2.4% Hispanic, 4.3% other) reported sexual activity (SA) on the anonymous survey. Demographic factors plus risk and problem behaviors were compared between 98 girls who had been pregnant and 494 girls who had never been pregnant using Chi-square analysis. Risk and problem behaviors were classified into four distinct groups: recent risk behaviors, age of onset of behavior, lifetime behavior, and general behavior. Variables which were univariately significant at p < 0.15 were considered in one of four stepwise multiple logistic regression models based on behavior type, with demographic factors considered in all four models. The final logistic regression model was developed using variables which were significant at p < 0.01. Variables which were significantly associated with pregnancy were summarized as odds ratios (OR) and 99% confidence intervals (CI); these ORs were adjusted for the effects of the other variables in the model.

RESULTS:

Pregnancy was more common in girls of color than in Caucasian girls (OR 99% and CI, 2.09, 1.06-4.11) and in older girls than in younger girls (1.52, 1.12-2.08). Among SA girls, weapon carrying in the past 30 days (4.06, 1.75-9.42) was significantly associated with pregnancy, whereas alcohol use in the past 30 days (0.37, 0.18-0.76) was less likely to be associated with pregnancy. The risk of pregnancy increased 1.75 times (1.26-2.43) for each additional sexual partner. Girls who had tried cocaine were 4.88 times (1.40-16.95) more likely to have been pregnant, and the risk of having been pregnant increased 1.43 times (1.14-1.80) for each additional year of SA. Past history of sexually transmitted disease (3.50, 1.28-9.55) was associated with increased pregnancy risk.

CONCLUSIONS:

Girls who had been pregnant also had engaged in other risk behaviors, including recent weapon carrying and cocaine use. A history of previous sexually transmitted diseases plus increasing numbers of partners add to the risk of pregnancy. Counseling and educational efforts should continue to identify teens at risk both to prevent pregnancy and to decrease associated risks.

PIP:

Data from the 1993 Ohio (US) Youth Risk Behavior Survey were used to determine whether teenage girls with a history of pregnancy were more likely than their sexually active counterparts who did not become pregnant to engage in other problem behaviors. 592 (46.3%) of the 1280 female respondents recruited from Ohio public and private high schools (median age, 16.2 years) were sexually active and 98 (7.7%) had been pregnant. Logistic regression analysis, adjusted for the effects of the other variables in the model, confirmed that girls who had been pregnant differed significantly from their sexually active counterparts who did not become pregnant in terms of several recent risk behaviors, age of onset of behavior, and general behavior. Sexually active teens who carried a weapon in the 30 days preceding the survey were 4.06 times (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.75-9.42) more likely to have been pregnant than sexually active teens who had not carried a weapon. The pregnancy risk was 4.88 times greater (95% CI, 1.40-16.95) among sexually active girls who had ever used cocaine compared with never users and the pregnancy risk increased 1.43 times (95% CI, 1.14-1.80) for each additional year of substance abuse. Alcohol use in the past 30 days, on the other hand, was less likely to be associated with pregnancy (odds ratio, 0.37; 95% CI, 0.18-0.76). The pregnancy risk increased 1.75 times (95% CI, 1.26-2.43) for each additional sexual partner during the previous 3 months. For each year following initiation of sexual activity, the risk of pregnancy increased 1.43 (95% CI, 1.14-1.80). Finally, history of a sexually transmitted disease increased the risk by 3.50 times (95% CI, 1.28-9.55). Although the cross-sectional nature of this study precludes assessment of causality and the sample was biased toward in-school youth, the findings suggest a need to address multiple risk factors for adolescent pregnancy.

PMID:
9436067
DOI:
10.1016/S1054-139X(97)00160-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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