Purpose The impact of pregnancy on the health and livelihood of adolescents aged 15-19 years is substantial. This study explored sociodemographic, behavioral, and environmental-level factors associated with adolescent pregnancy across five urban disadvantaged settings.
Methods The Well-Being of Adolescents in Vulnerable Environments study used respondent-driven sampling (RDS) to recruit males and females from Baltimore (456), Johannesburg (496), Ibadan (449), New Delhi (500), and Shanghai (438). RDS-II and poststratification age weights were used to explore the odds associated with "ever had sex" and "ever pregnant"; adjusted odds of pregnancy and 95% confidence interval were developed by site and gender.
Results Among the sexually experienced, pregnancy was most common in Baltimore (females, 53% and males, 25%) and Johannesburg (females, 29% and males 22%). Heterosexual experience and therefore pregnancy were rare in Ibadan, New Delhi, and Shanghai. Current schooling and condom use at the first sex decreased the odds of pregnancy among females in Baltimore and Johannesburg participants. Factors associated with higher odds of pregnancy were early sexual debut (Johannesburg participants and Baltimore females) being raised by someone other than the two parents (Johannesburg females); alcohol use and binge drinking in the past month (Baltimore participants); greater community violence and poor physical environment (Baltimore males and Johannesburg participants).
Conclusions The reported prevalence of adolescent pregnancy varies substantially across similarly economically disadvantaged urban settings. These differences are related to large differences in sexual experience, which may be underreported, and differences in environmental contexts. Pregnancy risk needs to be understood within the specific context that adolescents reside with particular attention to neighborhood-level factors.
- Adolescent pregnancy
- Adolescent sexual activity
- Community violence
- Family structure
- Physical environment
- Sexual debut
- Sexual risk behavior
- Urban neighborhood disadvantage
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Psychiatry and Mental health