Adolescent mothers' decisions impacting additional pregnancies
Adolescent pregnancy remains a public health concern despite decades of attempts to prevent it. The United States continues to have the highest adolescent pregnancy rates of any industrialized country (Kost, Henshaw, & Carlin, 2010). While adolescents of all ages (10-21 years) can become pregnant, pregnancy rates are highest among adolescents who are 15 to 19 years of age. Multiple factors have been identified that increase the likelihood of adolescent pregnancy and repeat pregnancy. Often times, adolescent pregnancy is the result of sexual risk-taking, which has been attributed to the changes that occur neurologically, physically, and emotionally (Reyna & Farley, 2006). The antecedents of adolescent pregnancy and repeat pregnancy are often the result of sexual and social decisions made by the adolescent.
Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative, descriptive, study is to examine the in-fluences of social and sexual decisions made by adolescent mothers, 16 to 19 years of age, before and after delivery of their first child.
Methods: This study utilized a qualitative, descriptive inquiry approach. The par-ticipants were recruited from Jefferson County Department of Health. The sample (n = 6) was comprised of adolescent mothers ages 15-19 years of age, within the first year fol-lowing delivery of their initial child. Semi-structured interviews were utilized for data collection and content analysis was used in order to analyze the data collected.
Results: The adolescent mothers' relationships with parents, romantic partners, friends, school, community, and newborn child influenced her decisions.
Conclusions: The findings of the current study agree with previous literature sup-porting the influence of relationships on adolescent mothers' social and sexual decision-making. The impact of adolescent mothers' transition into motherhood as well as the relationship with her newborn child on her decision-making addressed gaps observed in the literature.
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