Teen Moms More Likely to Have Been Neglected, Abused
A new Cincinnati Children’s study shows that abused or neglected girls are more likely to become teenage mothers.
Teen childbirth rates are more than 20 percent for abused and neglected teens, compared to the national teen childbirth rate of about four percent, according to the study.
The finding holds true even after taking into account such factors as race, family income and whether the family was a one- or two-parent household.
“Teen victims of sexual abuse may have distinct approaches to sex and sexual activity that can be attributed to traumatic sexualization,” says Jennie Noll, PhD, director of research in Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology at Cincinnati Children’s and the study’s lead author. “On the other hand, neglect is an act of omission in which parents and caregivers fail to provide the needed care and opportunities for promoting safe and normal development. As with the general teen population, primary prevention programs targeting sexual activity will help mitigate the risk of childbirth for maltreated adolescents.”