The study's goal was "to examine how cohort trends in family, individual, and relationship characteristics are linked to trends in adolescent reproductive health outcomes to provide a better understanding of factors behind recent declines in teenage birth rates."Advertisement
The authors investigated a sample of three cohorts of females and males ages 15-19 in 1992, 1997, and 2002 using retrospective data from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth. They sought to identify how family, individual, and relationship characteristics of American teenagers are associated with transition to sexual intercourse, contraceptive use at first sex, and the transition to a teen birth.
Cohort trends and multivariate analyses indicated that changes in family and relationship characteristics have been associated with positive trends in reproductive health since the early 1990s. Positive changes in family environments (including increases in parental education and a reduced likelihood of being born to a teen mother) and positive trends in sexual relationships (including an increasing age at first sex and reductions in older partners) were linked to improved adolescent reproductive health. However, these positive trends may be partially offset by negative changes in family environments (including an increased likelihood of being born to unmarried parents) and the changing racial/ethnic composition of the teenage population.
"Recent increases in the US teen birth rate highlight the continued importance of improving reproductive health outcomes. Our research suggests that it is important for programs to take into consideration how family, individual, and relationship environments influence decision-making about sex, contraception, and childbearing," the authors concluded.
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.