Family risk factors associated with adolescent pregnancy: Study of a group of adolescent girls and their families in Ecuador

Susana Guijarro, Jorge Naranjo, Mónica Padilla, Richardo Gutiérez, Cristina Lammers, Robert W. Blum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To identify characteristics within the family that were associated with adolescent pregnancy in a group of adolescent girls in Quito, Ecuador. Methods: Of 135 female adolescents (12-19 years of age), 47 were pregnant and seen at the adolescent prenatal care clinic at an inner city hospital in Quito, and 88 were students from schools located within the same geographic area. Family variables were compared for pregnant and nonpregnant adolescents using chi-square, Student's t-test, and analysis of variance. Results: More nonpregnant adolescents lived with their biological parents when compared with their pregnant peers (p < .002). Pregnant adolescents reported lower mother-daughter and father-daughter communication (p < .02), lesser life satisfaction and happiness in general, and more school and economic difficulties (p < .001). They were less likely to find support for their problems in or outside the family (p < .0001) and showed higher levels of depression and sexual abuse than their nonpregnant peers (68.8% vs. 34.5%, and 14.9% vs. 4.5%, respectively). Nonpregnant adolescents showed higher school performance and expectations regarding school achievement and future perspectives (p < .001). Values such as respect for others and religiosity were higher among nonpregnant adolescents (p < .0001). Parental education was lower in the families of pregnant adolescents (p < .05). Among nonpregnant adolescents, both parents worked outside the home (p < .006), whereas mothers of pregnant adolescents usually stayed at home. Conclusion: The current study showed that parental separation or divorce, and poor parent-daughter communication were associated with adolescent pregnancy. Families of nonpregnant adolescents had a higher educational level, and both parents worked to provide financial support to the family in an environment where family authority is shared by both parents. There were also better problem- solving strategies and parent-daughter communication, higher levels of cohesion, connectedness, and life satisfaction in general, and higher future expectations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-172
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent pregnancy
  • Ecuador
  • Family

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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