In a Journal, ‘The Relationship of Childhood Sexual Abuse to Teenage Pregnancy’ by Mark W. Roosa, Jenn-Yun Tein, Cindy Reinholtz, Patricia Jo Angelini they examined the relationship between childhood sexual abuse and teenage pregnancy. Three research questions guided this effort. First, do women who were sexually abused as children and women who had a teenage pregnancy have similar developmental backgrounds( socio demographic and risk factor profiles)? Second, does the risk for teenage pregnancy differ, based on whether a woman was sexually abused as a child, sexually precocious, or both?
And for those who experienced both abuse and precocity, does the relative timing of these events make a difference in risk for teenage pregnancy? Third, does childhood sexual abuse contribute to an increased risk of having a teenage pregnancy after the influence of other factors related to teenage pregnancy (e. g. , social class) have been accounted for? Participants were 2,003 women, 18 to 22 years old, living in Arizona. analyses. Purposive sampling was used to obtain sufficient representation of major ethnic groups in Arizona for subgroup analyses.
Thus, 39% (n = 785) of the women were non-Hispanic White;27% (n = 549) Mexican American; 16% (n = 320) Native American; and 14% (n = 283) African American. An additional 3 % (n = 66) categorized themselves as "other" or did not answer the ethnicity question. Despite efforts to obtain enough Native American women from a single tribe for subgroup analyses, our sample included women from 26 tribes and did not include enough women with shared cultural traditions for meaningful subgroup analyses. The average age of participants was 19. 9 years, and 34% (n = 689) were married or cohabiting.
Although over 50% (n = 1,018) of the participants reported ever being pregnant, about 38% (n = 761) reported giving birth to one or more children. The educational backgrounds of these young women were quite diverse. More than 6% (n = 132) reported that they had completed nine or fewer grades, and 26% (n = 529) reported that they had graduated from high school but had not been involved in any post-high school education. Another 47% (n = 946) had attended college, a figure that is somewhat higher than that reported for this age group in the 1990 census.
Mother's education, which was used as the indicator of social class in our analyses, was similarly diverse. Almost 10% (n = 190) had completed eight or fewer grades, and about 25% (n = 505) had completed high school as their highest educational attainment. Almost 40% (n = 796) of the mothers had attended or graduated from college. More than 88% of the women in this study had had sexual intercourse, the average age at first intercourse was 15. 4 years. About 68% of the sample reported having intercourse before age 18, and About 48% reported having sex before age 16, their definition of sexual precocity.
Twenty-six percent (n = 527) had a pregnancy before age 18. The occurrence of teenage pregnancy differed significantly by ethnicity, with 19% of non-Hispanic Whites, 22% of African Americans, 31% of Native Americans, and 34% of Mexican Americans having a teenage pregnancy. Pregnancy rates also varied significantly by the severity of sexual abuse, with 21% of non abused women, 9% of contact molestation victims, 39% of coercion victims, 26% of attempted rape victims, and 43% of rape victims having a teenage pregnancy. The likelihood of teenage pregnancy was higher for women in lower social classes (measured by mother's education level).
Because non-Hispanic Whites had higher education levels than the other ethnic groups, social class differences may account for at least some of the differences in pregnancy rates by ethnicity. More than 35% (n = 705) of the sample reported sexual abuse before age 18. Three percent reported that contact molestation was their most severe sexual abuse experience; 6% reported coercion; 6% reported attempted rape, and 21% reported rape. The results of this study do not support arguments that sexual abuse is a major contributor to the risk for teenage pregnancy.
Instead, sexual history events, in particular the age at first voluntary coitus and the use of birth control at first coitus, explained the largest portion of the variance in teenage pregnancy. This study represents the most comprehensive examination of the relationship of sexual abuse and teenage pregnancy to date. However, their results were limited by two methodological factors. First, the sample, although large, was a sample of 128. Sexual Abuse and Teenage Pregnancy convenience from a single state, and participants were slightly more educated than the average for this cohort.
Thus, these results cannot be generalized to other groups. Second, this was a cross-sectional study that relied on the recall of events that occurred several years prior to the survey. Finally, the results for Native American women included in this study cannot be interpreted clearly because of the cultural diversity represented by participants from 26 different tribes. Despite these limitations, this study demonstrated that the relationship between complex life events, such as childhood sexual abuse and teenage pregnancy, cannot be examined adequately without considering many other contextual factors that may play contributing roles.
Sexual abuse made only a minor contribution to the likelihood of teenage pregnancy and then only for a subgroup of non-Hispanic Whites and Mexican Americans who were sexually abused and later became sexually precocious. Instead, sexual precocity and failure to use contraceptives were the best predictors of teenage pregnancy. In another journal of ‘Rethinking Teenage Childbearing: Is Sexual Abuse a Missing Link’ by Janice R. Butler and Linda M. Burton, interviews were conducted with a nonclinical sample of 41 young rural mothers who had been pregnant as teenagers.
Research questions concerning the prevalence of sexually abusive experiences, the effects of such abuse on self-perceptions, and differences between victimized and non victimized young mothers were addressed. Of the respondents, 54% reported that they had been sexually abused by the age of 18. Victims' self-perceptions and their relationships with others appear to have suffered because of the abusive experiences, yet few significant differences were noted when the victims were compared to non- victims in the sample. The study reported here continues the exploration of the link between childhood sexual abuse and teen pregnancy.
In addition to prevalence, the impact of adolescent pregnancy and childhood sexual abuse on the lives of the respondents is explored. Three research questions were addressed. First, what is the rate of sexual victimization within a sample of rural young mothers who were pregnant as teenagers? Does this sample have a higher percentage of sexually abused young women than would be predicted by national estimates of child sexual abuse for girls under the age of 18? Second, what impact do abused teens feel their experiences have had on their lives?
Finally, how do young mothers who have been sexually abused differ from other young mothers in their reasons for becoming pregnant, their attitudes toward sexual relationships, and their general self-esteem? Subjects included 41 young white mothers, ranging in age from 16 to 25 years with a mean age of 19 years at the time of the interview. Although all the respondents were pregnant as teenagers, two of the mothers delivered their first child at age 20. These two did not distinctively differ from other participants in their responses or lifestyles.
The average age for becoming a mother was 17, with a range from 14 to 20 years. Seventeen of the respondents had never married; 20 were currently married; 3 were divorced, and 1 was separated from her husband. The married respondents ranged in age from 14 to 19 (x = 17. 3 years) at the time of their weddings. Six of the unmarried participants were living with a male partner at the time of the interview. They had been living with their mates an average of 18 months. Eleven other respondents had boyfriends with whom they were not living.
Twenty-nine percent of the young mothers had not received a high school diploma, 56% had graduated, and 15% had received a GED. Ten (24%) of the young women had a 10th-grade education or less and only one had some college-level experience. The study population was relatively homogeneous. Participants were primarily from low-income households. The median monthly income of the participants was $640. The communities from which the sample was drawn from were fairly stable; respondents' families had usually lived in the area for generations and the participants had never moved more than 30 miles from their birthplaces.
This sample was nonclinical-that is, the young mothers had not been previously identified as sexual abuse victims and were not known to be receiving counseling or therapy of any kind. Although these respondents do not constitute a representative sample of all teen mothers, their behaviors may approximate those of other young women, in similar rural settings, who became pregnant as adolescents. Data were collected from respondents from February through December 1987, using structured interviews conducted in participants' homes. This approach was used because many sexual abuse victims are reluctant to report their past experiences.
Although this study was an exploratory attempt to gather descriptive data, it accomplishes one of its main objectives-establishing support for the association between a history of sexual abuse and teen pregnancy. Of the 41 young mothers interviewed, 54% revealed that they had experienced at least one sexually abusive incident by age 18. The main problem with this study was that it took into account only rural and low-income mothers and didn’t take urban class and high-income teenagers or mothers who had faced sexual abuse during childhood and gotten pregnant.
It also doesn’t takes into account the male population involved in pregnancy issues and having had faced sexual abuse during childhood. But this study highlights the five main reasons linking child sexual abuse and teenage pregnancy i. e: Firstly, there may be a direct relationship between early victimization and becoming pregnant at a very young age. Although it is not a common occurrence, some young girls bear children as the result of sexual abuse. DeFrancis (1969) reported that of 217 victims whose cases went to court, 11 % had become pregnant as a result of the sexual offense.
A second reason concerns similarities in the family dynamics of incest victims and adolescent mothers. In many homes where incest takes place, the family displays dysfunctional patterns of interaction based on a patriarchal power structure . Mothers are devalued and often physically absent or psychologically unavailable to their children. Abused daughters typically take on parental roles, performing traditional motherly functions for their siblings in addition to being pressed into sexual service by their fathers or stepfathers.
A third possible relationship between childhood sexual abuse and adolescent childbearing involves gender and sexual socialization. Since individual identity is shaped by early social experiences of how one is treated and responded to by others, a sexually abused girl may learn that her purpose is to fulfill the sexual desires of others. She may, as a result of continued exploitation, come to believe that her value lies in her sexuality. Lowered self-esteem as a result of sexual abuse is a fourth factor that may influence the incidence of adolescent pregnancy.
A young victim's poor self- concept may create an emotional need that puts her in jeopardy of early pregnancy. Gordon (1987) noted that sexually abused children with low self- esteem may have needs for immediate gratification. Finally, a factor that may contribute to a link between child sexual abuse and early pregnancy is evidence showing that some teen pregnancies actually are planned (Dash, 1989; Elster, Pangarine, & McAnarney, 1980; Rosenstock, 1981). A study of black urban teenagers reports that 14% of those who became adolescent mothers claimed they had intended to become pregnant (Landry, Bertrand, Cherry, & Rice, 1986).
An adolescent who has been sexually abused at home may see pregnancy as an escape, a ticket out of a bad environment and a path to independence. One 16-year-old who had been sexually molested by her stepfather since the age of 3 told the authors of the study reported here that at age 15 she had been pregnant by her boyfriend but suffered a miscarriage. She said, "I was so happy to be pregnant. I thought he [her stepfather] would leave me alone if I was having a baby. " In a journal ‘Teenage Pregnancy and Associated Risk Behaviors among Sexually Abused Adolescents’ by Elizabeth M.
Saewyc, Lara Leanne Magee, Sandra E. Pettingell, they conducted a secondary analysis of data from the 1992 and 1998 Minnesota Student Surveys, anonymous pencil and paper surveys assessing health and risk behaviors among ninth and 12th graders; we chose surveys six years apart to ensure two independent cohorts. The Minnesota Student Survey is conducted statewide by the Minnesota Department of Education in the high schools of all participating public school districts, including alternative schools and group-home settings, and is administered in classrooms during school hours.
Passive parental consent and active student assent were secured for the surveys. In 1992, 99% of Minnesota school districts participated, and in 1998, 92% did. On the basis of enrollment records, the Department of Education estimated that 75% of ninth- and 12th-grade Minnesota public school students participated in 1992 and 1998. They included in the analysis only sexually experienced respondents-those who indicated that they had ever had sexual intercourse or had ever been or gotten someone pregnant (29,187 students in 1992 and 25,002 in 1998).
Two survey items determined which teenagers were considered sexually experienced: "Have you ever had sexual intercourse ('gone all the way')? " and "How many times have you been pregnant or gotten someone pregnant? "(T he second item was used to capture the few teenagers reporting previous pregnancy involvement but not intercourse pregnancy could result from rape, which may be considered a form of violence rather than sex. ) In 1992 and 1998, a slight majority of the sexually experienced teenagers were male (53% and 52%, respectively), and nearly two-thirds were 12th graders (63% and 59%, respectively).
Most respondents identified themselves as white (89% and 82%), as is the case in the overall Minnesota population. Measures The Minnesota Student Survey uses a relatively comprehensive definition of sexual abuse, mirroring that used in the state's criminal sexual conduct laws. In both years, identical questions assessed two types of sexual abuse-incest ("Has any older or stronger member of your family ever touched you sexually or had you touch them sexually? ") and non familial sexual abuse ("Has any adult or older person outside the family ever touched you sexually against your wishes or forced you to touch them sexually? ).
They grouped respondents into four categories according to a combined measure of sexual abuse: no abuse, incest only, non familial abuse only or both. In 1992, 27% of sexually experienced female respondents and 6% of sexually experienced males reported a history of any type of sexual abuse; the proportions for 1998 were 22% and 9%, respectively . In both years, the majority of sexually abused males and females reported having experienced nonfamilial abuse only; the smallest proportion reported having experienced incest only.
In both years, higher proportions of abused females than of non abused females reported ever having been pregnant (in 1992, 14-26% vs. 11%; in 1998, 13-22% vs. 10%); females reporting both incest and non familial abuse had the highest proportion o f ever-pregnant respondents. Similarly , adolescent males in either year who had been sexually abused were significantly more likely than those who had not to report having gotten someone pregnant (in 1992, 22-61% vs. 10%i;n 1998,27-31% vs. 8%). T he prevalence of pregnancy involvement among abused teenagers was substantially greater in males than n females.
Among males, those who had experienced both incest and non familial abuse had the highest proportion indicating pregnancy involvement; almost two in three such males in 1992, and one in three in 1998, had gotten someone pregnant. This study has several strengths and limitations. Its strengths include the use of large, population-based samples from two cohorts surveyed several years apart, the use of multiple measures of sexual abuse and the resulting ability to analyze the results separately by gender and abuse type.
The findings are consistent across cohorts, strengthening the results. Previous studies have been unable to compare the strength of the association between teenage pregnancy and sexual abuse among youth who have experienced different types of sexual abuse, and to compare adolescent males with females. The limitations of the study are those of all cross-sectional school-based adolescent health surveys. S elf-reports in an anonymous survey, may result in an undercount of abused youth. Furthermore ,given the wording of the questions, sexual abuse by peers was not captured.
Absent students and dropouts are not represented in these findings; in addition, teenagers who have run away or are parents are less likely than others to attend school. Another limitation is that the surveys are restricted to a single Midwestern state. Because of the cross-sectional nature of the survey, determining sexual abuse which came first-abuse or teenage pregnancy-is impossible. However, given that the peak age for sexual abuse is typically between seven and 13 years for females and males (i. e. , usually before puberty is complete), pregnancy involvement probably came after sexual abuse for most respondents reporting both.