Family, Child, Adolescent Health (Includes Maternal & Child Health)
Factors Associated with Contraceptive Use among Urban, African-American Adolescent Mothers
(School of Public Health (UMD) FMSC Doctoral Student)
Adolescent mothers face many obstacles to effective parenting, including poverty, low maternal self-esteem, and low levels of social support. Experiencing a rapid repeat pregnancy can limit a mother’s educational and employment opportunities, and increase risk of preterm and low birth weight. Research has found several factors associated with repeat pregnancy among teenagers, including inconsistent contraceptive use and a non-supportive family environment. Baseline data (n=150) were collected from in-person interviews with teen mothers when their children were, on average, 2 months old. Follow-up data (n=120) were collected when children were 12 months. Examined variables include social support, social strain, depression, and being in a romantic relationship with the baby’s father. Bivariate cross-sectional analyses were conducted at the baseline and 12-month time points. At baseline, contraceptive use (any vs. none) was significantly associated with social support (r = .177, p < 0.05). Being in a romantic relationship with the father of the baby was significantly and negatively associated with maternal depression (r = -.217, p < 0.01), and significantly and positively associated with perceived social support (r = .246, p < 0.01). In addition, social support and maternal depression were significantly and negatively associated (r = -.222, p < 0.01). At 12 month follow-up, contraceptive use was no longer significantly associated with social support. Being in a romantic relationship remained significantly associated with maternal depression (r = -.247, p < 0.01) and social support (r = .276, p < 0.01). When intervention and comparison groups were analyzed separately, contraceptive use was significantly negatively associated with perceived social strain only for the comparison group. These preliminary findings suggest that support relationships and perceived support and strain may play a role in teen mothers’ contraceptive use. Further analysis will be conducted to better understand the relationship between these variables, and to control for participation in the intervention.
Importance to public health: