Some researchers have investigated factors influencing the pregnancy options considered by young women in the United States who choose abortion; (1) others have explored pregnancy decision-making by comparing the characteristics of young women who opt for abortion, birth or adoption. (2) But rarely has pregnancy decision making been investigated by examining the influences bearing on young women who choose to give birth. What events and communication patterns lead pregnant teenagers to this decision? Who helps them the most in making their decision, and what options do the women, their partners and their parents consider? And how does decision-making differ according to young women's pregnancy intentions and background characteristics?
This study, conducted in four counties in California, was designed to address these issues for a sample of unmarried pregnant 15-18-year-olds who had decided to give birth. We explore whether their pregnancies had been planned, and we compare the characteristics and motivations of adolescents who had intended their pregnancies with those of young women who had not intended to become pregnant or had not cared whether they became pregnant. We hypothesize that characteristics that distinguish childbearing teenagers from others--such as familial disadvantage, parental absence, low aspirations, abuse and certain partner characteristics--will also distinguish young childbearing women who had intended to become pregnant from those who had not. In addition, we look at how race, ethnicity and nativity are associated with adolescents' pregnancy intentions.
Finally, we investigate the factors that were most important in the young women's decision to carry their pregnancy to term. This decision may have been affected by a variety of factors: the prior intentions of the young woman and her partner regarding becoming pregnant and having a child, the woman's relationship with her partner, her age, the structure of her family, and her goals and expectations for the future. (3) Other possible factors are familial or social supports that affect a young woman's ability to bear and raise a child; the accessibility of abortion services; and the acceptability of abortion to the young woman, her family and her peers.
We anticipate that the findings from these analyses will be useful for educators, program planners and others involved in designing interventions to help young women avoid unintended pregnancy and childbearing and in directing ongoing medical and educational services toward young people who might be at risk for unintended pregnancy.
Public concern over teenage pregnancy and its resolution has triggered both political debate and academic inquiry. Data for the 1990s showing declines in teenage pregnancy and childbearing both nationally and in California (4) raise further questions about the determinants of teenage childbearing and the factors that have contributed to the decline.
During the early 1980s, teenage birthrates in California paralleled the national average (Figure 1, page 6). After 1985, as teenage birthrates rose across the nation, California's rate rose faster and higher than the national average, increasing by more than one-third and peaking at 73 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19 in 1991. Between 1992 and 1997, teenage birthrates dropped in both California and the United States; California's rate declined to 57 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19 in 1997.
Much of the rise in California's teenage birthrates in the late 1980s can be attributed to significantly rising birthrates among young Hispanic and black women, as well as to the growing proportion of the state's teenagers who were of Hispanic origin (23% in 1980 vs. 34% in 1990 (5)). The teenage birthrate rose from 91 births per 1,000 Hispanic women 15-19 in 1980 to a high of 123 per 1,000 in 1993; among black women, the rate rose from 79 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19 in 1980 to a high of 108 per 1,000 in 1990. Subsequent declines in California's teenage birthrates are attributable to large declines in the rates for Hispanic and black women (to 95 and 72 per 1,000, respectively, in 1997), as well as to declines in the rates for white women (from a high of 42 in 1990 to 29 in 1997). Birthrates among California's Asian teenagers rose and declined very gradually throughout the 1980s and 1990s, generally remaining close to 30 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19.
Determinants of Teenage Childbearing
Factors associated with teenage pregnancy and its resolution have been summarized in several reviews. The research clearly shows that many antecedents of teenage childbearing are related to some form of social disadvantage (e.g., poverty, low education, family and residential instability, unemployment and limited career opportunities, membership in a minority group, and sexual or physical abuse). (6)
Less clear is an understanding of the mechanisms through which these factors result in teenage child-bearing. One hypothesis is that social disadvantage and its behavioral sequelae (early sexual initiation, less-effective contraceptive use and less reliance on abortion to end unplanned pregnancies) make it difficult for youth to avoid the risks and negative consequences of becoming pregnant and bearing a child. (7) An alternative hypothesis is that social disadvantage contributes to attitudes or norms that favor nonmarital teenage childbearing as a rational adaptive strategy. (8)
Although most births to U.S. teenagers are unintended, a substantial minority of conceptions among teenagers are planned. In 1994, an estimated 22% of pregnancies and 44% of births among women aged 15-19 were intended at the time of conception. (9) Furthermore, studies of the psychological determinants of teenage pregnancy and childbearing indicate that some adolescents may have even more ambivalence (10) or preconscious motivation (11) toward childbearing than is detected by national surveys using a single retrospective question on women's pregnancy intention.
Numerous studies have shown that compared with sexually active young women who avoid pregnancy or who become pregnant and choose abortion, those who become pregnant and choose to bear a child are more likely to come from economically disadvantaged families, live with only one or neither biological parent, and have been sexually abused or raped. Typically, they also have lower educational and career aspirations and older partners. (12)
To better understand how such characteristics contribute to teenage childbearing, it is important to assess which ones are more common among young women who become pregnant intentionally and which are more common among those who become pregnant accidentally. In addition, it is important to understand the factors involved when unmarried teenagers decide to carry a pregnancy to term.
Finally, while the accessibility of abortion services may affect pregnancy resolution decisions in some areas of the country, it is unlikely to be an important factor among the young women in this study. Abortion services are generally available in the four study counties, (13) and California is one of 14 states to provide public funding for abortion through Medicaid (MediCal). (4) However, when access to services is not a major problem, many women may view abortion as an unacceptable option for a variety of reasons: moral or religious beliefs, fear of physical or emotional consequences, or cultural and familial attitudes regarding women's roles and the importance of childbearing.
In fact, use of abortion to resolve unintended adolescent pregnancies has declined in recent years. Nationwide, 45% of such pregnancies among women 15-19 ended in abortion in 1994, compared with 55% in 1981. (15) In California, the proportion of all (not just unintended) adolescent pregnancies ending in abortion fell from 52% in 1985 (16) to 49% in 1988 (17) and to 40% in 1992. (18)
Pregnant women aged 15-18 who had no children, had been unmarried at conception and planned to bear and raise their baby were recruited from 30 prenatal care providers in Alameda, Monterey, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. (*) These counties were chosen because they make up a contiguous area that includes inner-city, urban and rural populations with representation from the different racial and ethnic groups found in the state.
The principal investigator or fieldwork managers briefed staff at each participating site about the study and provided them with enrollment forms and eligibility criteria. Staff were requested to identify all potentially eligible young women seeking prenatal care from July 1996 to December 1996, and were responsible for giving these women a brief description of the study and inviting them to participate. The study protocols, recruitment forms and survey instrument were approved for use by The Alan Guttmacher Institute's institutional review board in July 1996.
A total of 260 young women were identified as potential participants. Trained female fieldwork managers attempted to contact each woman by telephone to assess her eligibility and schedule the interview. Forty-four women were contacted and found to be ineligible. (+) Of the remainder, 13 women were never contacted (because their phone number was incorrect, they did not provide a phone number or they were never available at the phone number provided); 12 were eligible but refused to be interviewed or never made it to the interview, even after rescheduling multiple times; (++) and four gave birth before the scheduled interview could be conducted. Fifty-three respondents did not keep their scheduled interview times; all but 10 rescheduled and completed interviews. Altogether, contacting, scheduling, confirming and rescheduling interviews involved more than 1,000 telephone calls.
In all, 187 young women in four counties completed the interview--78 in Alameda; 26 in Monterey; 53 in Santa Clara; and 30 in Santa Cruz. Fieldwork managers and interviewers conducted the interview either at the recruitment site, usually a clinic (134), or at the young woman's home (53), depending upon the availability of space at the site and on the young woman's preference. All interviews were conducted privately, away from other site activities or other household members.
The interviewers used a structured questionnaire with many open-ended questions; interviews took 40-105 minutes (averaging 59 minutes apiece). All interviews were audiotaped for later review, particularly of the qualitative information collected. To ensure that the young women had already made the decisions we were asking about and would not be influenced by any interaction occurring during the interview, we completed interviews only with respondents who were at least three months pregnant. Respondents were compensated with $25 at the completion of the interview.
Participants were almost equally divided between 15-16-year-olds (48%) and 17-18-year-olds (52%). Thirty-six percent were Hispanic women born in the United States, 29% were Hispanic adolescents born elsewhere (primarily Mexico), 25% were black women, 7% were non-Hispanic white teenagers and 4% were Asian. Eighty-three were native Spanish speakers, and 47 opted to have their interviews conducted in Spanish.
We had anticipated a larger number of non-Hispanic white respondents and attribute the low number to two factors. First, non-Hispanic white teenagers in California have a considerably lower birthrate (32 births per 1,000 in 1996) than their black or Hispanic peers (77 and 104 per 1,000, respectively). (19) Second, we suspect that non-Hispanic white teenagers who decide to give birth are more likely to seek prenatal care from private providers or from providers who were not on the lists obtained from county health departments or who refused to participate. (Many participating Sites were in communities with high concentrations of Hispanic or black residents. In addition, several private providers known to have large numbers of teenage clients and to accept Medi-Cal, and suspected to serve a more mixed clientele, refused to participate.)
We constructed weights that adjust the distribution of young women in the sample to approximate the distribution of young women giving birth in California, according to race or ethnicity (U.S.-born Hispanic, foreign-born Hispanic, black, white and Asian) and age (15-16 and 17-18). These adjustments allow us to generalize the results more broadly and ensure that the high proportion of younger respondents does not bias the findings and give undue weight to the experiences of younger teenagers.
The proportion of study participants who were native- or foreign-born Hispanics was similar to the proportion of births to 15-18-year-olds statewide and in the four study counties that were classified as native or foreign-born Hispanic (Table 1). White teenagers were underrepresented among study participants, while black teenagers were overrepresented.
The age distribution of the study sample differs strikingly from those illustrated in the state and county data. Whereas 29% of births to 15-18-year-olds in the state and the four counties are to women aged 15-16, 48% of pregnant women were this age at the interview date. This variation may be due partly to two factors: Some study participants who were 16 years old at interview may be 17 when they deliver; and younger teenagers may rely mainly on clinics for prenatal care, whereas older teenagers may be more likely to seek services from private doctors.
One of the principal variables of interest is whether the young woman had intended to conceive. Respondents were asked "When you became pregnant, would you say you wanted to get pregnant at that time, you didn't want to get pregnant, or you didn't care one way or the other?" This was followed by an open-ended question asking the young woman why her intention had been as she described it. On the basis of their responses to these two questions, respondents were classified into three groups--those who had intended to become pregnant, those who had not intended the pregnancy and those who had not cared one way or the other.
The analyses also included demographic variables (age, race, ethnicity and, for Hispanic women, nativity) and a variety of socioeconomic and psychosocial variables. We assessed young women's living and familial situations by asking whether they had lived with their biological parents at the time they conceived, whether they currently lived with their unborn baby's father, whether they had moved in the past year and whether they received public assistance (through Medi-Cal, Aid to Families with Dependent Children or the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children). Several questions explored respondents' educational and employment status and life aspirations: whether they were currently in school and, if not, whether they had dropped out before or after learning of their pregnancy; whether they would have desired to go to college if nothing stood in their way; whether they expect that they will go to college; whether they had participated in any extracurricular activities or had been empl oyed in the past year; and whether they had and could articulate any life plans or aspirations. We categorized participants as having high aspirations if their plans included education- or employment-related goals and as having other aspirations if their goals included only family or children.
Another set of variables relates to young women's experiences after they learned of their pregnancy: whom they talked to, what options they considered and why they chose to have the baby. Several items gauge the respondent's current and past relationship with the baby's father, as well as gathering key data about him--his age, race or ethnicity, education and employment, and whether he has fathered other children. Finally, information on young women's experiences with contraception and contraceptive services was gathered.
We used one-tailed z-tests to examine the statistical significance of bivariate differences between young women who intended pregnancy and those who did not. We also performed multinomial regression using STATA to assess predictors of pregnancy intention status. Because the dependent variable has three categories, this procedure is preferable to logistic regression. The multivariate model included the demographic variables and several variables that were significantly related to intention at the bivariate level.
Young Women's Characteristics and Aspirations Although the women had diverse backgrounds and experiences, a common theme was turmoil in their lives. Few lived in intact families, most had moved recently, many had not attended school regularly prior to becoming pregnant and a large majority depended on public assistance, at least to pay the medical costs of their pregnancy (Table 2, page 10).
About half of respondents reporting recent moves mentioned that the move was related to their pregnancy or to their relationship with their baby's father (not shown). The other half described complicated living situations and movement between parents, grandparents, siblings and friends that was often related to financial problems, crowded living conditions, interpersonal conflict, and behavioral or substance abuse problems (either their own or among the people around them). Of the 44% of respondents who had dropped out of school prior to their pregnancy, many had had problems at school, had dropped out because of recent moves or had had a constellation of personal, family or financial issues that kept them from attending school regularly (not shown).
A majority of respondents had had high goals for their education or life plans. However, many did not now expect to reach those goals, and a sizable minority (24%) had no life plans that they could articulate. During the year prior to their pregnancy, 58% of young women had participated in one or more extracurricular activities, such as performing arts, church youth groups or sports.
In these young women's circles, early childbearing is not uncommon. Nearly seven in 10 had close friends or teenage siblings who were pregnant or already had children. In addition, many respondents reported social alienation or unhealthy past or present dating relationships. Ten percent had no close friends, and 47% had been in a controlling or abusive relationship, either prior to or with their baby's father.
Women's Pregnancy Intentions
Some 32% of respondents had intended to become pregnant, 25% had not cared and 43% had not intended to become pregnant. These proportions differ widely according to women's age and race or ethnicity: Only 22% of 15-16-year-olds had intended to conceive, compared with 36% of 17-18-year-olds; the proportion was 14% among black women, 34% among U.S.-born Hispanic respondents and 46% among foreign-born Hispanic young women (Figure 2, page 11). Thus, comparing young women who had intended pregnancy with those who had not reveals wide variation in demographic and background characteristics (Table 2). Participants who had intended to conceive were more likely than those who had not to be older (80% vs. 65%) and of foreign-born Hispanic origin (41% vs. 16%). (*)
Moreover, young women who had intended pregnancy had greater social and economic disadvantage than those who had not. For example, at the time they conceived, they were less likely to be living with a biological parent (49% vs. 70%), more likely to have dropped out of school (54% vs. 35%) and less likely to have recently been employed (62% vs. 78%). They also had lower expectations for their education and life plans. Only 33% of those who had intended to conceive had had high aspirations, compared with 72% of those who had not intended to become pregnant; 44% and 15%, respectively, had had no life plans. Finally, compared with participants who had not planned to become pregnant, those who had intended to conceive were more likely to have no close friends, to have a sister who had been a teenage mother (but not to have a friend in that situation) and to have been in a relationship with a controlling or abusive partner.
How Women Explain Their Pregnancy Intention Of those who had wanted to become pregnant, more than half gave reasons that reflected their desire for a baby--e.g., "I like babies, having something that's mine," "I like children a lot, and at least with that, I will entertain myself" and "It's weird, but something or someone is telling me to have a baby. My mom can't take care of me, so I will have one to be a better mom and show her how to take care of her kids." Nearly a third gave reasons related to the desires or perceived desires of the baby's father (e.g., "He wanted me to get pregnant, and I was willing"), and nearly one in four said that the "time was right" to begin their family.
The majority (62%) of those who had not intended to become pregnant said simply that they had not wanted or were not ready to have a baby; others explained that they had felt a baby would interfere with their goals or that their life or financial situation was too unstable to support a baby.
Those who had not cared about becoming pregnant could not provide clear reasons for that feeling. Some said that they had had mixed feelings about becoming pregnant or that they had wanted to become pregnant, but not yet. Others responded that they considered pregnancy inevitable, it just did not matter either way, they did not know what they wanted or they had never thought about it. One young woman commented, "It just happened. I didn't think about it, he didn't think about it. It's not like-we cared a lot....We've been together two years, and I haven't gotten pregnant and we've had unprotected sex."
Many assumed chat they would not get pregnant because they had not become pregnant during past unprotected sex. They combined their belief (and fear) that they might be infertile with a fatalistic view about life and pregnancy--and, in this way, rationalized their pregnancy and childbearing as something that was "meant to be."
Observed and Anticipated Benefits of Childbearing To explore the motivations associated with different pregnancy intentions, we asked the women what they observed and expected to be the advantages of youthful childbearing. Nearly half of those with friends who were parents mentioned that young mothers were forced to become more mature and stable. For example, one woman replied, "The best thing [for my friend] was she stopped doing the bad stuff, like drugs and gang-banging." About one respondent in 10 anticipated gaining maturity and stability after giving birth. Reported benefits of youthful childbearing also included family, love, responsibility and a better relationship with the baby's father.
Native-born Hispanic and black women were more likely than other women to mention maturity and stability as observed or anticipated advantages of youthful childbearing, while foreign-born Hispanic adolescents were more likely than others to mention love, family and a better relationship with the baby's father.
Relationship with the Baby's Father
At the time they conceived, 98% of these young women were in steady dating relationships with or were engaged to their baby's father (Table 3). On average, they had been dating for more than a year and were about three and a half years younger than the father.
Although only one-third of the young women had wanted to become pregnant, about half reported that their partner had wanted them to conceive. Roughly one in four thought that their partner had not wanted them to become pregnant, and a similar proportion thought that he had not cared. In all, 27% of respondents reported that both they and their partner had wanted to get pregnant, 19% reported that neither had wanted the pregnancy and the rest reported mixed or ambivalent intentions (mostly that the baby's father had the greater preference for having a baby--not shown).
Compared with young women who had not intended to become pregnant, those who had wanted a pregnancy had older partners (on average, 22 vs. 20 years) and reported a greater age difference between themselves and their partners (five years vs. three). They also were more likely to be living with their baby's father at the time of the interview (56% vs. 20%), to think that they are "very likely" to marry in the next few years (73% vs. 39%) and to report that their partner had intended the pregnancy (84% vs. 28%).
Multivariate Analysis to Predict Intention Status
The multinomial regression analysis assessed the influence of a variety of characteristics on women's risk of having intended to become pregnant vs. having not intended to conceive and their risk of having intended pregnancy vs. having not cared (Table 4). Two sets of results are reported--one including and one excluding the effects of the father's pregnancy intentions. Because of the small sample size and exploratory nature of this analysis, significance is reported for relative risk ratios up to the .10 level.
When father's pregnancy intentions were excluded, the analysis comparing young women who had intended pregnancy with those who had not revealed that foreign-born Hispanic teenagers were nearly seven times as likely as their white and Asian counterparts to have wanted the pregnancy (risk ratio, 6.7). The likelihood of having intended the pregnancy was also elevated among women who had had no plans for their life (risk ratio, 5.5), women who had ever been in a controlling or abusive relationship (2.8) and those whose baby's father was aged 20 or older (2.6).
Risk ratios associated with having had no life plans and having been in an abusive relationship changed little when young women who had intended pregnancy were compared with those who had not cared. In this comparison, the ratio associated with having a partner who was at least 20 years old diminished slightly and was only marginally significant; race and ethnicity had no independent association with intention status.
In the analyses including the father's intentions, young women who reported that their partner had wanted them to get pregnant were nearly 15 times as likely as others to have intended the pregnancy (as opposed to having not intended it). The effects of foreign-born Hispanic ethnicity, having had no life plans and having ever been in an abusive relationship remained strong and significant, but partner's age was no longer associated with intention status.
The effect of partner's pregnancy intentions on young women intending pregnancy compared with those who had not cared was significant, but not nearly as strong as in the prior comparison. Additionally, young women with no close friends had an elevated likelihood of having intended the pregnancy.
Overall, 80% of respondents had ever used a method of contraception, and 67% had received contraceptive methods or information from a clinic or doctor; however, 63% had used no method during the month in which conception occurred (Table 5). Some 24% attributed the pregnancy to their failure to use a method or inconsistent method use during the month of conception (user failure); 13% said that it had resulted from method failure (i.e., they had used their method consistently during the month they conceived, or they had used a condom that broke).
Levels of contraceptive use and reasons for nonuse varied considerably according to whether the young woman had planned to conceive. Those who had intended to get pregnant were less likely than those who had not to have ever used a contraceptive method (71% vs. 90%), to have ever used condoms (65% vs. 87%) and to have used a method during the month of conception (18% vs. 55%). Among women who had wanted to become pregnant, the most often cited reason for nonuse was their own or their partner's desire to become pregnant.
One-third of teenagers who had not cared about getting pregnant had used contraceptives during the month of conception. The most common reason this group cited for nonuse (mentioned by 27%) was that they thought use was unnecessary--often because they were in monogamous relationships and not worried about STDs, or because they had had unprotected sex in the past without becoming pregnant. Almost the same proportion (24%) said that they had never thought about using a method or talked about it with their partners. Typical responses regarding nonuse included "Never thought about it; it's not comfortable, so we didn't use it and we trusted each other [not to have a disease]" and "Once, we were having sex and the condom broke, and after that we stopped using condoms. We were both tested for STDs, and pregnancy was the farthest thing from my mind."
Among those not intending to become pregnant, 55% had used a contraceptive method during the month that conception occurred: Some 19% had used a method that failed, but 36% had skipped using their method at the time conception was likely to have occurred. The reason most often cited for nonuse among this group was that they had been careless or had forgotten to use a method (35%). Other common reasons were that they had never thought about using a method or discussed it with their partner, and they lacked access to or information about contraceptives.
Reactions and Communication Patterns
Respondents had had a wide range of emotional reactions upon learning of their pregnancy, and they had confided in and discussed their options for dealing with it with both family members and peers. Four in 10 (42%) said they had had only negative feelings--including anger, fright, confusion, worry, shock and sadness-upon learning about the pregnancy (Table 6). About one in four (27%) had had only positive reactions, mostly happiness and excitement. Nearly as many (24%) reported mixed emotional responses; they had been "happy and sad and confused and scared," all at the same time. As might be expected, young women who had intended to become pregnant were the most likely to report only positive emotional reactions (59%), while those who had not intended to conceive were the most likely to report only negative reactions (58%).
In all, 77% of young women told someone else about the pregnancy the same day that they learned of it; this proportion was higher among women desiring pregnancy (86%) than among those who became pregnant accidentally (65%). The baby's father was generally the first to be told (42%); again, the proportion was higher for those who had intended their pregnancies (49%) than for those who had not (28%).
Two-thirds (67%) of respondents reported that their partner was very happy when he first learned of the pregnancy; 81% said that he was very happy about the pregnancy now and 80% expected him to be at the baby's delivery. Women who had intended to become pregnant were significantly more likely to give these responses than were those who had not. Additionally, while 75% of all respondents were still dating or engaged to the baby's father at the time of the interview and 54% thought they were likely to get married, these proportions were considerably higher among participants who had wanted to conceive than among those whose pregnancy had been unintended.
Seventeen percent of respondents told their mothers about the pregnancy before telling anyone else; (*) 52% told their mothers within a month of learning that they were pregnant (not shown). Sixteen percent expected and received a positive reaction from their mothers, and 38% received a more positive reaction than they had expected; often, the mother unexpectedly supported the teenager, instead of scolding or disowning her.
Thirty percent of young women both expected and received a negative reaction from their mothers. They reported that their mothers were shocked, sad, emotional or upset. One respondent said her mother told her "what a stupid fool" she was. Nevertheless, at the time of the interview, 81% of mothers were reported to be very supportive of their pregnant daughters.
In general, fathers both were expected to have and had more negative reactions to their daughters' pregnancies than mothers. (*) However, 31 % of fathers had more positive reactions than the young women expected, and 62% were reportedly very supportive at the time of the interview.
Teenagers who had wanted to become pregnant were much more likely than those whose pregnancy had been unintended to report expecting and receiving a positive reaction from both their mothers (31% vs. 9%) and their fathers (20% vs. 1%).
Overall, 12% of women said that both of their parents and the baby's father had reacted positively when told about the pregnancy. A majority reported positive reactions from either the baby's father alone (35%) or the baby's father and one parent (24%). Some 17% reported no positive reactions from either of their parents or their baby's father; 23% of those with an unintended pregnancy gave this response, compared with 8% of those who had wanted to conceive.
Seventy-six percent of respondents had felt comfortable telling their friends about their pregnancy; however, 28% said that it had negatively affected their relationship with one or more friends. Those who had desired pregnancy were more likely than those whose pregnancy had been unintended to have felt comfortable telling their friends about it (87% vs. 65%).
* Choosing to give birth. When they first learned that they were pregnant, 64% of respondents were "very sure about wanting to keep the baby"; 36% "needed some time to think about what...to do" (Table 7). Only 15% of those who had intended the pregnancy responded that they needed time to think about whether they would keep the baby, compared with 59% of those who had not intended to become pregnant.
When asked why they had decided to keep the baby, 46% reported only reasons related to wanting or accepting motherhood (i.e., they wanted a baby, wanted to take responsibility or had support for keeping the baby), 32% reported that they were keeping the baby only because they were against abortion or adoption, 19% reported both wanting the baby and being against abortion and adoption, and 3% reported that they were keeping the baby only because others wanted them to.
Nearly three out of four adolescents who had intened to become pregnant gave only positive reasons for deciding to keep their baby. However, among women who had not intended to get pregnant, only 25% responded this way; 51% reported that they had decided to keep the baby only because they had not wanted to have an abortion or place the child for adoption.
Reported reasons for keeping the baby also differed among young women of different racial and ethnic backgrounds (not shown). Foreign-born Hispanic teenagers most often said they had decided to keep the baby because they had wanted a baby (63%) or someone else, usually the baby's father, had wanted them to have a baby (20%). U.S.-born Hispanic women were equally divided between those who had wanted a baby (49%) and those who did not want to have an abortion (47%); in addition, 26% mentioned that a reason for having the baby was to take responsibility for their mistakes. Black respondents most frequently said that their decision was based solely on unwillingness to have an abortion (63%) and least often reported that it stemmed from their desire to have a baby (28%); black young women were more likely than others to have decided to keep the baby solely because they did not want to have an abortion. Although these differences may be related to young women's prior pregnancy intentions, three-way cross-tabulation s indicate that even among women with the same intention, the reasons given for keeping their babies differed according to race or ethnicity (not shown).
The decision to keep the baby was also related to women's perceptions of the advantages and disadvantages of teenage childbearing. In all, 45% of participants described their pregnancy as a meaningful, positive experience (e.g., "This is something good, it's not bad like they say these days, I think it's the best. And, I don't know, maybe it can help me. It means a huge responsibility.... I have to fight to get my child ahead"). Other reported advantages of having a child as a teenager include the love and companionship of a child (15%) and the impetus for self-improvement (15%). One in four respondents felt that having a child as a teenager is an advantage because they will still be young when the child is grown, they will be youthful and energetic mothers, and they will "grow up" with their children and have less of a generation gap (not shown).
* Birth and residence preferences. When considering their options after first learning about the pregnancy, 51% of the young women wanted to have their baby and marry or live with the baby's father; 40% wanted to have the baby and live on their own or with their parents (Table 7). Only 7% wanted to have an abortion or place the baby for adoption. By contrast, according to the respondents, 71% of their partners initially wanted them to have the baby and get married or live together, 15% wanted them to have the baby and live at home or on their own, and 13% wanted them to have an abortion; none of the fathers favored placing the baby for adoption.
The contrast between young women's preferences and those they reported for their partners are even more striking when looked at by pregnancy intention. Respondents who had intended to become pregnant reported high agreement between themselves and the baby's father in their preference for marrying or living together (78% for the young women and 80% for their partners). However, among teenagers who had not intended pregnancy, there was little such agreement: Only 23% of young women preferred this option, compared with 63% of their partners.
* Social support. Beside talking to their partners and parents about their pregnancy options, many young women talked with a variety of other people (not shown): clinic staff (56%), friends (45%), and sisters, aunts or other adult relatives (39%). Still, when asked who had helped them the most in making the decision to continue the pregnancy, 23% reported that the decision had been theirs alone; 34% said that the baby's father was the most important in helping to make the decision, 20% said their mother and 15% said another relative was most important (Table 7). Few women considered their friends or staff at a clinic or other facility the most helpful (4-5%).
For young women who had intended the pregnancy or who had not cared, the baby's father helped most with the decision to continue the pregnancy (mentioned by more than 40% of respondents). By contrast, partners were much less helpful to young women who had not intended to become pregnant; these teenagers relied more on themselves (29%) and their mothers (28%) in making the decision.
* Consideration of abortion. When asked about the option of abortion, only one in three young women responded that they had even considered it (Table 8, page 18). As expected, teenagers who had not intended their pregnancy were more likely to have considered abortion (47%) than were those who had wanted to conceive (20%).
We asked the women either why they had not considered abortion or why they had decided against it. Most (65%) gave reasons related to opposition to or fear of abortion, 24% gave reasons related to wanting or being resigned to have the baby, 6% said they wanted a baby and were opposed to or afraid of abortion and 5% said that others' desire for them to have a baby and opposition to abortion influenced them. Among those who had not considered abortion, the most important reason was moral opposition, while those who had considered it most commonly had felt that it was not right, given their circumstances (not shown).
Although the fact that few young women even considered abortion was somewhat surprising, it was not totally unexpected, given that nationwide, the proportion of adolescent pregnancies being resolved through abortion is declining. (20) However, it raises questions as to why young people are moving away from abortion and what distinguishes young childbearing women who might have opted for abortion from those who would not even consider it.
Most of the teenagers had had some experience with abortion. Ten percent had had an abortion, and 60% had friends who had had an abortion (Table 8). Young women who had not intended to become pregnant were more likely than those who had desired pregnancy to have friends who had had an abortion (75% vs. 43%). Among those with friends who had had an abortion, 46% approved of that decision. Common reasons given for their disapproval included moral objections to abortion and strong beliefs that irresponsible behavior should be punished. Typical comments included "It wasn't the baby's fault; it was their fault" and "If they lay down with a person, they should've had a baby."
Thirty-six percent of respondents believed it was very easy for a teenager to obtain an abortion in the area where they lived, and 29% thought it was somewhat easy. Among young women who had not intended to become pregnant, 80% thought it was at least somewhat easy to get an abortion, and only 5% thought it was very difficult. Thus, perceived lack of access to abortion was rarely a problem among young women who were most likely to have considered abortion.
When asked about specific reasons that might make it difficult for a teenager to get an abortion, 15% said having no provider nearby, 38% cited the cost of the procedure, 47% responded that her parents might stop her and 81% said that it would be a difficult personal decision to make. In addition, 79% thought that if a law were enacted requiring minors to obtain parental consent prior to an abortion, it would present a major obstacle for teenagers seeking abortion.
Although the findings from this study are not representative for all childbearing teenagers across the nation or even within California, they illustrate relationships between young women's characteristics, pregnancy intentions and behavior that are likely to be applicable for a broad group of U.S. teenagers.
One limitation of the study is that it was based on a small sample that is composed primarily of low-income, minority teenagers. Another potential limitation is that retrospectively asking young women about their pregnancy intentions may have resulted in some "adjustment" of intentions based on young women's current feelings about the pregnancy. However, this study has an important advantage over many national studies that have asked about women's intention regarding pregnancies that occurred up to several years prior to the interview. Here, intention was explored prior to the birth and the next phase of bonding that occurs as women make the transition to motherhood.
Evidence from this study indicates that while these young women differ according to many background characteristics, in their relationships with the young men who fathered their babies and in the circumstances that led them to conceive, their lives typically reflect a pattern of disadvantage that is likely to have contributed to their pregnancies. Moreover, disadvantage may influence teenage reproductive behavior through multiple mechanisms, and differing theoretical models (e.g., inability to avoid risks (21) versus rational adaptive strategy (22)) may be applicable for different types of women.
For most of the young women in this study, pregnancy was unintended, and childbearing resulted from behaviors and attitudes that may have been directly or indirectly influenced by their disadvantaged backgrounds and their limited expectations for the future (i.e., sexual activity combined with poor or nonexistent contraceptive use, poor communication about contraception, low motivation to avoid pregnancy and personal opposition to abortion). For others, who reported an intended pregnancy, childbearing was a choice based on the young woman's perception of herself, her relationship with her partner and the role of childbearing in her future.
The findings from the multivariate analysis support the hypothesis that many factors that distinguish childbearing teenagers from those who avoid early childbearing also distinguish youth who intend pregnancy from those who conceive unintentionally. Many of the young women who intended pregnancy viewed childbearing positively, as a way of setting a course for their lives--a way to gain maturity and stability. Childbearing may serve as a rational, adaptive strategy for moving from somewhat risky "adolescent" behavior to more stable "adult" roles.
However, the strong association between intended pregnancy and foreign-born Hispanic ethnicity suggests a somewhat different pattern for these young women. They were less likely than other respondents to have been in controlling or abusive relationships and much more likely to have strong support for the pregnancy from the baby's father. This may suggest patterns of early family formation consistent with cultural norms from their homelands. However, given that these young women were also more likely than other groups to have had no life plans or very modest educational or career plans, they may have not yet become acculturated toward such expectations, been able to access potential opportunities or faced a variety of social, economic or educational barriers that are greater than those faced by native-born teenagers.
The findings suggest that successful interventions will need to be tailored differently for young women, depending on where pregnancy and childbearing fit into their overall life experiences. Teenagers who are trying to become pregnant will not benefit from the same kinds of interventions as those who are not contemplating pregnancy but who may have characteristics that put them at risk for unintended childbearing. And even among adolescents intending pregnancy, different approaches may be necessary, depending upon their reasons for wanting to begin childbearing.
Furthermore, the importance of partners and their influence on young women must be addressed. This study clearly illustrates the significant role that young men and their desires have on the events leading to conception. Partners' intentions were most predictive for young women who had wanted the pregnancy, leading us to suspect that partners were instrumental in shaping the intentions that young women reported for themselves. That these women were more likely than others to have ever been in a controlling relationship indicates a pattern of susceptibility to partner control among some teenagers. Thus, it may be important to assess both women's past relationship experiences and their current relationships, and to counsel them to find ways to define themselves, their goals and their lives independently of their partners.
For the majority of teenagers who are not seeking pregnancy, interventions aimed at improving contraceptive behavior would be most effective. Many of these women do not have an accurate understanding of conception or how to use contraceptives effectively. Many are not comfortable enough with their sexuality to plan ahead, obtain contraceptives or even talk about method use with their partners. Moreover, the passive, fatalistic attitude toward pregnancy and childbearing that many young women express almost assures that many will conceive. Simple, accurate education about conception and effective contraceptive use is clearly needed, as are programs to improve young women's s self-esteem, assertiveness and ability to take greater responsibility for their lives and their futures.
Targeted interventions are needed for teenagers with characteristics that may predispose them to want to become pregnant. These characteristics include dropping out of school, having no plans or goals for their lives, having been in a controlling or abusive relationship and not having a good familial or social network. Since young women of Hispanic ethnicity and foreign nativity are overrepresented among teenagers who intend pregnancy, special attention should be given to designing specific, culturally appropriate approaches. For others with these risk factors, who may seek childbearing as a way of bringing stability, purpose and love into their lives, alternative paths are needed. Broad social interventions that can address the lack of love and family that many young people feel have the potential to reduce teenage childbearing among young women who seek to bear children.
Finally, many of the young women in the sample who had not intended pregnancy reported attitudes and beliefs about abortion that preclude serious consideration of this option. Consequently, efforts to improve abortion access in these counties are unlikely to have much effect on the proportion of pregnant teenagers choosing abortion. This makes it all the more important to improve contraceptive access and to emphasize the counseling of youth about effective contraceptive use and pregnancy prevention. Such a course will help to reduce the number of teenagers who find themselves in a position that can result only in their "choosing" to bear an unintended child.
(*) Providers were initially identified from lists of California Perinatal Services Program participants supplied by county maternal and child health directors. About 60 providers were contacted by phone to assess the number of pregnant teenagers served per year. Additional providers were identified during this inquiry. Among the 45 providers who gave us the number of teenage prenatal clients served, most were contacted and invited to participate in the study. Clinics that reportedly served fewer than 20 teenage clients per year or that were affiliated with Catholic institutions were not included. A variety of types of providers participated: 12 community health centers, six Planned Parenthood clinics, four private women's health care practices, three hospital clinics, two school-based programs for pregnant and parenting teenagers, two county prenatal care or Healthy Start case-management programs and one health department clinic. Twelve providers refused to participate: seven community health centers, one ho spital clinic and four private women's health care practices.
(+) Ten were not aged 15-18, nine already had a child, 12 were married prior to conception, 12 were not pregnant when contacted and one planned to place the baby for adoption.
(++) There is no evidence that these women were systematically different from those interviewed. They were dispersed among the four counties, and they probably came from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. (This assumption is based on their names and the clientele of the clinics where they were recruited; the screening questions did not cover race or ethnicity.)
(*) These are weighted percentages and cannot be calculated from the unweighted Ns reported in Table 2.
(*)Respondents who did not jive with or have regular contact with their mothers were asked if they had an alternative "mother figure." Eighty-two percent of respondents referred to their biological mothers, and 13% to "mother figures"; 5% had neither a mother nor a "mother figure" and are excluded from these calculations.
Nearly three out of four adolescents who had intend-
(*.) Respondents who did not live with or have regular contact with their fathers were asked if they had an alternative "father figure." Fifty-six percent of respondents referred to their biological fathers, and 23% to "father figures": 22% had neither a father nor a "father figure" and are excluded from these calculations.
(1.) Henshaw SK and Kost K, Parental involvement in minors' abortion decisions, Family Planning Perspectives, 1992,24(5): 196-207 & 213.
(2.) Berger DK et al., Hispanic adolescent pregnancy testers: a comparative analysis of negative testers, childbearers and aborters, Adolescence, 1991, 26(104):95 1-1962; Cooksey EC, Factors in the resolution of adolescent premarital pregnancies, Demography, 1990, 27(2):207-218; and Murry VM, An ecological analysis of pregnancy resolution decisions among African American and Hispanic adolescent females, Youth and Society, 1995, 26(3):325-350.
(3.) Ibid.; and Resnick MD, Adolescent pregnancy options, Journal of School Health, 1992, 62(7):298-303.
(4.) Ventura SJ, Curtin SC and Mathews TJ, Teenage births in the United States: national and state trends, 1990-96, Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, 1998; The Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI), Teenage pregnancy: overall trends and state-by-state information, New York: AGI, 1999; and Ventura SJ, Mathews TJ and Curtin, Declines in teenage birthrates 1991-98: update of national and state trends, National Vital Statistics Reports, 1999, Vol. 47, No. 26.
(5.) California Department of Finance, Race/Ethnic Population with Age and Sex Detail, 1970-2040, Sacramento: California Department of Finance, 1998.
(6.) Kirby D, No Easy Answers: Research Findings on Programs to Reduce Teen Pregnancy, Washington, DC: National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 1997; Miller BC, Risk factors for adolescent nonmarital childbearing, in: Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Report to Congress on Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing, Hyattsville, MD: DHHS, 1995, pp. 217-227; and Moore KA et al., Adolescent Sex, Contraception, and Childbearing: A Review of Recent Research, Washington, DC: Child Trends, 1995.
(7.) Trent K and Crowder K, Adolescent birth intentions, social disadvantage, and behavioral outcomes, Journal of Marriage and the Family, 1997, 59(3):523-535; and Furstenburg FF Jr., As the pendulum swings: teenage childbearing and social concern, Family Relations, 1991, 40(2):127-138.
(8.) Geronimus AT, Teenage childbearing and social and reproductive disadvantage: the evolution of complex questions and the demise of simple answers, Family Relations, 1991, 40(4):463-471; and Geronimus AT, Teenage childbearing and social disadvantage: unprotected discourse, Family Relations, 1992, 41(2):244-248.
(9.) Henshaw SK, Unintended pregnancy in the United States, Family Planning Perspectives, 1998, 30(1):24-29 & 46.
(10.) Zabin LS, Astone NM and Emerson MR, Do adolescents want babies? the relationship between attitudes and behavior, Journal of Research on Adolescence, 1993, 3(1):67-86.
(11.) Adler NE and Tschann JM, Conscious and preconscious motivation for pregnancy among female adolescents, in: Lawson A and Rhode DL, eds., The Politics of Pregnancy: Adolescent Sexuality and Public Policy New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993, pp. 14-58.
(12.) Zabin LS, Hirsch MB and Boscia JA, Differential characteristics of adolescent pregnancy test patients: abortion, childbearing and negative test groups, Journal of Adolescent Health Care, 1990, 11(2):107-113; Kenny JW, Reinholtz C and Angelini PJ, Ethnic differences in childhood and adolescent sexual abuse and teenage pregnancy, Journal of Adolescent Health, 1997, 21(1):3-10; Plotnick RD, The effects of attitudes on teenage premarital pregnancy and its resolution, American Sociological Review, 1992, 57(6):800-811; Manlove J, The influence of high school dropout and school disengagement on the risk of school-age pregnancy, Journal of Research on Adolescence, 1998, 8(2):187-200; Wu L, Effects of family instability, income, and income instability on the risk of a premarital birth, American Sociological Review, 1996, 61(3):386-405; and Moore KA et al., Nonmarital school-age motherhood: family, individual and school characteristics, Journal of Adolescent Research, 1998,13(4):433-457.
(13.) Henshaw SK and Van Vort J, Abortion services in the United States, 1991 and 1992, Family Planning perspectives, 1994, 26(3):100-106 & 112.
(14.) Sollom T, Gold RB and Saul R, Public funding for contraceptive, sterilization and abortion services, 1994, Family Planning Perspectives, 1996, 28(4):166-173.
(15.) Henshaw SK, 1998, op. cit. (see reference 9).
(16.) Henshaw SK and Van Vort J, Teenage abortion, birth and pregnancy statistics: an update, Family Planning Perspectives, 1989, 21(2):85-88.
(17.) Henshaw SK, Teenage abortion, birth and pregnancy statistics by state, 1988, Family Planning Perspectives, 1993, 25(3):122-126.
(18.) Henshaw SK, Teenage abortion and pregnancy statistics by state, 1992, Family Planning Perspectives, 1997,29(3):115-122.
(19.) Ventura SJ, Mathews TJ and Curtin SC, Declines in teenage birth rates, 1991-1997: national and state patterns, National Vital Statistics Reports, 1998, Vol. 47, No. 12.
(20.) Henshaw SK, 1998, op. cit. (see reference 9); Henshaw SK and Van Vort J, 1989, op. cit. (see reference 16); Henshaw SK, 1993, op. cit. (see reference 17); and Henshaw SK, 1997, op. cit. (see reference 18).
(21.) Miller BC, 1995, op. cit. (see reference 6); and Moore KA et al., 1995, op. cit. (see reference 6).
(22.) Trent K and Crowder K, 1997, op. cit (see reference 7); and Furstenburg FF Jr., 1991, op. cit. (see reference 7).
Table 1. Percentage distribution of of pregnant 15-18-year-old women in four California counties who intend to carry their pregnancy to term, by race/ethnicity and by age; and percentage distribution of birth to 15 -18-year-olds, by race/ethnicity and by age, the four study counties, California and the United States, 1995 Population N Total Race/ethnicity Hispanic U.S.-born Foreign-born Pregnant women 187 100.0 35.3 28.9 Births to teenagers in: Study counties 3,746 100.0 32.1 (+) 26.2 (+) California 43,838 100.0 34.2 28.3 United States 331,043 100.0 9.4 (++) 15.1 (++) Population Age White Black Asian 15-16 Pregnant women 7.0 24.6 4.3 48.1 Births to teenagers in: Study counties 18.1 16.7 6.8 29.2 California 21.0 11.0 5.4 29.1 United States 44.1 28.2 3.3 28.1 Population Age 17-18 Pregnant women 51.9 Births to teenagers in: Study counties 70.8 California 70.9 United States 71.9 (*)Included Pacific Islanders and American Indians. (+)The distribution of Hispanic births by nativity in the study counties is an estimate based on the distribution at the state level for births to Hispanic teenagers aged 15-16 and 17-18 separately. (++)The distribution of Hispanic births by nativity in the United States is an estimate based on the distribution of births to all women. Note: The four study counties are Alameda, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Monterey. Sources: United States--Ventura SJ et al., Report of final natality statistics, 1995, Monthly Vital Statistics Report, 1997, Vol. 45, No. 11, Suppl. California and study counties--California Department of Health Services Maternal and Child Health Branch. Table 2. Percentage distribution of respondents, by age and by race/ ethnicity; and percentage, by selected characteristics-all according to pregnancy intention at conception Characteristic Total Intended Did not care (N=187) (N=52) (N=50) Age 15-16 29.0 20.3 29.8 17-18 71.0 79.7 70.2 Race/ethnicity Hispanic 62.5 78.1 62.2 U.S.-born 34.2 36.8 29.7 Foreign-born 28.3 41.3 32.5 Black 11.0 5.0 13.2 White 21.0 12.8 11.9 Asian 5.4 4.1 12.7 Living situation at conception Living with at least one 61.2 49.4 60.9 parent Living with both parents 24.2 26.2 24.0 Living with mother only 32.5 22.4 30.0 Mobility Moved in past year 64.2 66.9 61.8 Public assistance received Medi-Cal 86.1 87.4 92.5 WIC benefits 69.2 74.3 71.2 AFDC benefits 13.2 19.3 6.2 Education Currently in school 49.4 41.7 50.6 Dropped out prior to 43.5 54.3 45.3 pregnancy Would go to college if nothing in way 71.2 57.2 68.5 Expect to go to college 44.7 34.4 39.5 Extracurricular activities and employment Participated in any extracurricular activities 58.3 48.4 56.6 Employed in past year 69.5 61.5 65.8 Life plans High aspirations 56.4 32.7 59.5 Other aspirations 19.2 23.2 24.9 No life plans 24.4 44.2 15.6 Peer relationships Have no close friends 10.4 19.4 3.8 Have close friend/sibling who is expecting/has 68.7 61.0 77.4 children Girlfriend is expecting 30.3 34.8 29.2 Girlfriend has children 36.9 23.2 39.5 Male friend has children 20.4 10.6 16.6 Sister was teenage mother 22.3 32.5 23.2 Partner relationships Ever in controlling/ abusive relationship 47.3 55.5 41.0 Ever had a partner who: Kept her from doing things 30.2 45.3 19.4 Refused to use birth control 10.1 13.6 5.6 Hit or injured her 20.1 32.8 19.5 Ever been raped 13.0 15.8 8.0 Characteristic Did not intend (N=85) Age 15-16 35.0 (*) 17-18 65.0 (*) Race/ethnicity Hispanic 51.2 (***) U.S.-born 35.1 Foreign-born 16.1 (***) Black 14.2 (*) White 32.4 (**) Asian 2.2 Living situation at conception Living with at least one 69.9 (*) parent Living with both parents 22.8 Living with mother only 41.3 (*) Mobility Moved in past year 63.7 Public assistance received Medi-Cal 81.4 WIC benefits 64.3 AFDC benefits 12.8 Education Currently in school 54.3 Dropped out prior to 34.5 (*) pregnancy Would go to college if nothing in way 82.7 (***) Expect to go to college 55.1 (**) Extracurricular activities and employment Participated in any extracurricular activities 66.5 (*) Employed in past year 77.5 (*) Life plans High aspirations 71.9 (***) Other aspirations 13.0 No life plans 15.1 (***) Peer relationships Have no close friends 7.8 (*) Have close friend/sibling who is expecting/has 69.2 children 27.5 Girlfriend is expecting 45.3 (**) Girlfriend has children 29.8 (**) Male friend has children 14.3 (**) Sister was teenage mother Partner relationships Ever in controlling/ abusive relationship 45.0 Ever had a partner who: Kept her from doing things 25.5 (**) Refused to use birth control 10.2 Hit or injured her 11.2 (***) Ever been raped 13.8 (*)Difference between those who intended the pregnancy and those who did not intend the pregnancy is significant at p<.05. (**)Difference between those who intended the pregnancy and those who did not intend the pregnancy is significant at p<.01. (***)Difference between those who intended the pregnancy and those who did not intend the pregnancy is significant at p<.001. Note: Ns are unweighted; percentages are weighted by statewide age and race/ethnicity distribution. Table 3. Selected measures reflecting characteristics of respondents' relationship with their baby's father and the father's characteristics, by pregnancy intention at conception Measure Total Intended Did not care PERCENTAGES Relationship with the father Dating/engaged before pregnancy 97.7 99.4 100.0 Only steady relationship ever 48.5 48.7 57.3 Living together at the time of 38.0 55.9 47.3 interview Think marriage is "very likely" 54.3 73.4 56.3 in next few years Reasons for first sex with the father Planned to marry him 57.5 71.3 66.9 Wanted baby 24.8 51.2 25.1 Father's background characteristics Employed 71.5 70.9 77.7 H.S. graduate 47.6 39.1 50.5 Has other children 16.9 17.0 6.5 Father's pregnancy intention at conception Intended 52.1 84.3 53.0 Did not care 22.6 9.0 29.6 Did not intend 25.2 6.6 17.4 MEANS Mos. of dating before conception 13.5 (+) 13.6 16.7 Father's age 20.5 (++) 21.7 20.2 Age difference between partners 3.6 (++) 4.6 3.4 (yrs.) Measure Did not intend PERCENTAGES Relationship with the father Dating/engaged before pregnancy 95.1 Only steady relationship ever 43.3 Living together at the time of 19.8 (***) interview Think marriage is "very likely" 39.0 (***) in next few years Reasons for first sex with the father Planned to marry him 42.0 (***) Wanted baby 5.3 (***) Father's background characteristics Employed 68.2 H.S. graduate 51.8 Has other children 23.0 Father's pregnancy intention at conception Intended 27.8 (***) Did not care 28.8 (**) Did not intend 43.4 (***) MEANS Mos. of dating before conception 11.6 Father's age 19.8 (***) Age difference between partners 3.1 (**) (yrs.) (**)Difference between those who intended the pregnancy and those who did not intend the pregnancy is significant at p<.01. (***)Difference between those who intended the pregnancy and those who did not intend the pregnancy is significant at p<.001. (+)Standard deviation is 12.5 months. (++)Standard deviation is 3.0 years. Note: Percentages are weighted by statewide age and race/ethnicity distribution. Table 4. Relative risk ratios from multinominal regressions showing the likelihood that women intended to become pregnant versus had other intentions, by selected characteristics Characteristic Model I Intended vs. Intended vs. did not intend did not care Age 15-16 rc rc 17-18 2.09 1.94 Race/ethnicity/nativity White/Asian rc rc U.S.-born Hispanic 2.81 (+) 2.19 Foreign-bron Hispanic 6.65 (**) 2.29 Black 1.49 0.98 Lived with a parent prior to pregnancy Yes rc rc No 2.21 (+) 1.45 Has any close friends Yes rc rc No 2.11 4.83 (+) Articulated any life plans Yes rc rc No 5.52 (***) 5.28 (**) Ever in controlling/abusive relationship Yes 2.76 (*) 2.86 (*) No rc rc Age of baby's father 15-19 rc rc [greater than or equal to]20 2.63 (*) 2.24 (+) Father's pregnancy intentions Did not want/care na na Wanted na na [chi square] 56.5 Log likelihood -168.163 [R.sup.2] 0.144 Characteristic Model II Intended vs. Intended vs. did not intend did not care Age 15-16 rc rc 17-18 1.97 1.73 Race/ethnicity/nativity White/Asian rc rc U.S.-born Hispanic 2.64 2.19 Foreign-bron Hispanic 7.23 (**) 2.72 Black 1.34 1.0 Lived with a parent prior to pregnancy Yes rc rc No 2.23 (+) 1.39 Has any close friends Yes rc rc No 3.26 6.13 (*) Articulated any life plans Yes rc rc No 4.18 (**) 4.38 (**) Ever in controlling/abusive relationship Yes 3.50 (*) 3.53 (*) No rc rc Age of baby's father 15-19 rc rc [greater than or equal to]20 1.95 1.85 Father's pregnancy intentions Did not want/care rc rc Wanted 14.72 (***) 5.83 (***) [chi square] 91.1 Log likelihood -50.873 [R.sup.2] 0.232 (*)p<.05. (**)p<.01. (***)p<.001. (+)p<.10. Notes: rc-reference catory. na=not applicable. Table 5. Percentage of respondents by selected measures related to contraceptive use, according to pregnancy intention at conception Measure Total Intended Did not care Ever-use Ever used any method 80.3 70.7 76.8 Ever received services from clinic/MD 66.5 72.0 63.2 Ever used oral contraceptives 36.5 37.9 20.8 Ever used condoms 75.8 64.8 70.7 Use during conception month Used method 37.0 17.6 32.0 Reported probable user failure 24.3 11.0 22.5 Reported probable method failure 12.7 6.7 9.5 Used no method 63.0 82.4 68.0 Reasons for nonuse (among nonusers) Respondent desired pregnancy 23.9 57.2 0.0 Never thought/talked about use 18.5 7.2 24.4 Baby's father desired pregnancy 18.3 34.6 11.4 Thought use unnecessary 17.7 18.0 26.8 Did not like/had problems with methods 17.0 26.3 13.5 Forgot/was careless 14.6 1.6 11.5 Did not know about/have methods 9.3 0.0 10.8 Measure Did not intend Ever-use Ever used any method 89.5 (**) Ever received services from clinic/MD 64.5 Ever used oral contraceptives 44.6 Ever used condoms 86.9 (**) Use during conception month Used method 54.6 (***) Reported probable user failure 35.5 (***) Reported probable method failure 19.1 (*) Used no method 45.5 (***) Reasons for nonuse (among nonusers) Respondent desired pregnancy 0.0 (***) Never thought/talked about use 28.6 (**) Baby's father desired pregnancy 2.2 Thought use unnecessary 9.0 Did not like/had problems with methods 7.5 (**) Forgot/was careless 35.2 (***) Did not know about/have methods 20.5 (***) (*)Difference between those who intended the pregnancy and those who did not intend the pregnancy is significant at p<.05. (**)Difference between those who intended the pregnancy and those who did not intend the pregnancy is significant at p<.01. (***)Difference between those who intended the pregnancy and those who did not intend the pregnancy is significant at p.<.001. Note: Percentages are weighted by statewide age and race/ethnicity distribution. Table 6. Percentage of respondents, by selected measures related to reaction to and communication about the pregnancy, according to pregancy intention conception Measure Total Intended Did not Did not care intend Respondent's reaction Positive only 27.4 58.5 29.4 3.3 (***) Negative only 41.8 16.3 45.8 58.l (***) Mixed 23.9 23.4 19.1 27.1 Neutral 6.6 1.8 5.7 10.7 (*) Told someone that day 76.8 85.7 85.2 65.2 (**) First person told Baby's father 42.4 49.4 58.2 28.0 (**) Mother 16.8 21.7 10.2 17.0 Girlfriend 16.2 8.6 17.2 21.1 (*) Other 24.6 20.2 14.4 33.8 (*) Baby's father's reaction Very happy initially 66.5 87.2 67.1 50.0 (***) Very happy now 81.3 99.1 89.7 61.7 (***) Support from baby's father Father has come to prenatal care visits 54.3 58.7 50.6 53.2 Expect father to be at 80.4 91.7 95.0 62.5 (***) delivery Relationship with baby's father Dating/engaged at interview 74.7 90.5 89.1 54.7 (***) Think marriage very likely 54.3 73.4 56.3 39.0 (***) Mother's reaction Positive, as expected 16.4 31.2 9.2 8.9 (***) Negative, as expected 30.3 25.7 34.7 31.5 More positive than expected 38.3 25.4 44.1 45.2 (*) Neutral/other 14.9 17.7 11.9 14.4 Mother now very supportive 80.7 73.8 77.6 87.5 (*) Father's reaction Positive, as expected 11.2 20.1 14.9 1.1 (***) Negative, as expected 40.2 24.2 47.6 50.2 (**) More positive than expected 30.7 22.4 30.2 38.4 (*) Neutral/other 17.8 33.3 7.3 l0.2 (***) Father now very supportive 61.8 52.2 68.9 65.1 Combined reactions of parents and baby's father All positive 11.7 15.8 6.9 11.5 Only parents positive 12.3 3.1 11.3 19.7 (**) Baby's father and one parent positive 23.7 32.0 12.4 24.2 Baby's father only positive 34.9 41.5 49.9 21.8 (**) No one positive 17.4 7.7 20.4 22.8 (*) Felt comfortable telling 76.3 86.8 82.1 64.8 (*) friends Relationship with friends negatively affected 27.7 20.6 36.2 27.9 (*)Difference between those who intended the pregnancy and those who did not intend the pregnancy is significant at p<.05. (**)Difference between those who intended the pregnancy and those who did not intend the pregnancy is significant at p<.01 (***)Difference between those who intended the pregnancy and those who did not intend the pregnancy is significant at p<.001. Note: Percentages are weighted by statewide age and race/ethnicity distribution. Table 7. Percentage distribution of respondents, by selected measures related to pregnancy decision-making, according to pregnancy intention at conception Measure Total Intended Did not Did not care intend Initial reaction Was sure about keeping baby 64.2 84.6 77.8 41.2 (***) Needed time to decide what to do 35.8 15.3 22.9 58.8 (***) Reasons for wanting to keep the baby Wanted/accepted having baby 46.2 71.2 51.1 25.0 (***) Against abortion/adoption 31.5 10.2 24.4 51.3 (***) Wanted/accepted baby and against abortion/adoption 19.0 15.3 20.0 21.3 Baby's father/others wanted baby 3.3 3.4 4.4 2.5 Option respondent favored most at first Birth and marry/live with father 50.6 77.8 63.9 22.9 (***) Birth and live with family/on own 40.0 21.3 34.3 57.1 (***) Abortion 4.9 0.0 1.8 10.4 (**) Adoption 2.4 0.8 0.0 5.0 No preference 2.0 0.0 0.0 4.6 Option baby's father favored most at first Birth and marry/live with him 70.9 80.4 71.4 62.6 (*) Birth and live with her family/on own 14.7 13.7 12.2 17.1 Abortion 13.0 6.0 12.0 19.6 (*) Adoption 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 No preference 1.4 0.0 4.3 0.7 Who helped most with decision to continue Baby's father 33.6 40.8 45.1 21.5 (**) Respondent made the decision herself 23.1 15.2 23.1 28.9 (*) Respondent's mother 20.1 17.2 10.4 27.9 Other relative 14.5 15.3 17.3 12.3 Clinic/church/school staff 5.1 9.7 0.0 4.7 Friends 3.6 1.8 4.2 4.6 Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 (*)Difference between those who intended the pregnancy and those who did not the pregnancy is significant at p<.05. (**)Difference between those who intended the pregnancy and those who did not intend the pregnancy is significant at p<.01. (***) Difference between those who itended pregnancy and those who did not intend the pregnancy the pregnancy is significant at p<.001. Note: Percentages are weighted by statewide age and race/ethnicity distribution. Table 8. Percentage of respondents, by selected measures related to abortion experience and attitudes, according to pregnancy intention at conception Measure Total Intended Did not Did not care intend Ever considered abortion 32.6 20.0 24.5 46.6 (***) Reasons abortion not considered/not obtained Wanted/was resigned to have baby only 24.4 33.4 29.0 15.4 (**) Opposed/afraid to have an abortion only 65.2 54.4 63.2 74.0 (**) Wanted baby and opposed/ afraid to have abortion 5.7 5.4 5.5 6.1 Others wanted baby/ against abortion only 4.7 6.7 2.3 4.5 Ever had abortion 10.1 8.5 5.1 14.1 Friend ever had abortion 60.1 43.3 55.8 75.1 (***) Approves of friend's abortion (+) 46.0 36.4 34.5 55.2 (*) Perceived abortion accessibility Very easy 36.0 23.0 35.2 49.2 (**) Somewhat easy 28.8 31.7 21.9 30.8 Somewhat difficult 23.9 28.5 30.1 14.9 (*) Very difficult 11.4 16.8 12.8 5.0 (*) Major obstacles to abortion Too expensive 38.3 34.6 44.7 37.0 Nowhere nearby 14.8 23.0 8.4 12.8 Parents would prevent it 47.3 53.3 40.3 47.0 Difficult personal decision 80.6 86.1 74.2 80.5 Parental consent law 78.7 81.0 66.8 84.1 (*)Difference between those who intended the pregnancy and those who did not intend the pregnancy is significant at p<.05. (**)Difference between those who intended the pregnancy and those who did not intend the pregnancy is significant at p<.01. (***)Difference between those who intended the pregnancy and those who did not intend the pregnancy is significant at p<.001. (+)Percentages based on those with a friend who had had an abortion. Note: Percentage are weighted by statewide age and race/ethnicity distribution
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|Title Annotation:||impact of unintended pregnancy on California teenagers|
|Publication:||Teenagers' Pregnancy Intentions and Decisions: A Study of Young Women in California Choosing to Give|
|Article Type:||Statistical Data Included|
|Date:||Dec 1, 1999|
|Next Article:||Percentage of respondents, by selected characteristics according to age, race/ethnicity and county of residence.|