Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health
Volume 34, Number 2, March/April 2002


Is There a Causal Link Between Maltreatment
And Adolescent Pregnancy? A Literature Review

TABLE 1. Selected characteristics of studies addressing maltreatment and adolescent pregnancy, 1990-2000
Authors/year Sample Type of maltreatment Additional variables Methodology/design
Adams and East, 19993 N=100; ages 12-24 (mean, 16.5) Physical (e.g., Have you been hit or beat up?)
Sexual (e.g., Has anyone forced you to have sex?)
Emotional (e.g., Have you felt worthless or bad?)
Age at first coitus; age at first pregnancy; delinquency; depression; race/ethnicity 186-item structured interview
Boyer and Fine, 19924 N=535; ages 13-21 (mean, 17.6) Sexual (molestation, coercion, attempted rape, rape)
Physical (hit, thrown against wall)
Sex for place to stay; drug or alcohol use Questionnaire
Butler and Burton, 19905 N=41; ages 16-25 (mean, 19) Sexual (coercion, attempted rape, rape)
Attitudes about sexuality, self-esteem; reasons for pregnancy Interview
Chandy, Blum and Resnick, 19966 N=2,022; grades 7-12 (mean age, 15.3) Sexual (yes/no) School performance; suicidal behaviors; eating disorders; substance abuse; pregnancy risk Secondary analysis using nationally representative database
Esperat and Esparza, 19977 N=111; ages 13-20 men; being a parent Sexual (yes/no) Feelings about self; sexuality; ended interview Four-item open-
Fiscella et al., 19988 N=1,026; mean age, 18 Sexual (yes/no)
Physical (yes/no; amount of early violence)
Emotional (warmth from caregiver/parent)
Age at first coitus; age at first pregnancy 33-item structured interview
Kenney, Reinholtz and Angelini, 19979 N=1,937; ages 18-22 Sexual (molestation, coercion, attempted rape, rape) Race/ethnicity; educational level; marital status 20-page questionnaire
Nagy, DiClemente and Adcock, 199510 N=3,124; 76% were aged 14-16 Sexual (yes/no) Truancy; sexual history and behaviors; substance use; violence; mental health Questionnaire
Rainey, Stevens-Simon and Kaplan, 199511 N=200; ages 13-18 (mean, 16.2) Sexual (yes/no) Feelings about pregnancy; age at first intercourse; frequency of sex; number of sexually transmitted diseases; frequency of contraceptive use; desirability of pregnancy; fear of infertility; delinquent behaviors 40-item questionnaire
Romans, Martin and Morris, 199712 N=477 adults Sexual (nongenital contact, nonpenetrative genital contact, penetrative genital contact, penetrative intercourse) Parental marital relationship; parental health; physical punishment; nonnuclear family; childhood confidante; Two stages: mailed survey; interview parent-child relationship
Roosa et al., 199713 N=2,003; ages 18-22 (mean, 19.9) Sexual (molestation, coercion, attempted rape, rape) Social class; race/ethnicity; age at first sex; partner abuse; smoking; prostitution; contraceptive use Questionnaire
Smith, 199614 N=249; grades 7-8 Substantiated cases of four types of maltreatment before age 12, divided for analysis into any maltreatment, single type of maltreatment, multiple types maltreatment Family structure; family disadvanage; education; substance use; intimacy issues Structured interview
Stevens-Simon and McAnarney, 199415 N=127; ages 12-18 (mean, 16.1) Sexual and physical abuse combined into one variable (yes/no) Substance abuse; social support; stress; depression; prior maltreatment; infant health Structured interview
Stock et al., 199716 N=3,128; grades 8, 10 and 12 Sexual (yes/no)
Physical (yes/no)
Race/ethnicity; parental supervision; education; substance use; suicidal ideation; body image, sexual history; contraceptive use 120-item questionnaire
Widom and Kuhns, 199617 N=1,196; mean age, 28 Sexual (yes/no)
Physical (yes/no)
Neglect (yes/no)
Social class; age; promiscuity; prostitution Two-hour structured interview; prospective matched cohort design
Note: Superscript numbers refer to the reference list (see page 74).

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© copyright 2002, The Alan Guttmacher Institute.