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The Effect of Partners' Characteristics on Teenage Pregnancy and Its Resolution

Madeline Zavodny
Family Planning Perspectives
Vol. 33, No. 5 (Sep. - Oct., 2001), pp. 192-199+205
Published by: Guttmacher Institute
DOI: 10.2307/2673781
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2673781
Page Count: 9
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The Effect of Partners' Characteristics on Teenage Pregnancy and Its Resolution
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Abstract

Context: Although the determinants of whether a teenage woman has a nonmarital pregnancy and how such a pregnancy is resolved have been widely investigated, little is known about the effect of her partner's characteristics or the joint influence of the two partners' characteristics on nonmarital teenage pregnancy. Methods: Data from the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth are used to examine whether the characteristics of teenage women and their partners affect the likelihood of a nonmarital pregnancy and how the pregnancy is resolved. The data are corrected for underreporting of abortions. Results: More than 17% of teenage women are estimated to have become pregnant during their first nonmarital teenage sexual relationship. About 44% of these pregnancies result in a nonmarital birth and about 18% in a marital birth, while 37% end in an abortion. The likelihood of nonmarital pregnancy declines as age at first intercourse rises, but age does not affect how such a pregnancy is resolved. Women who are older than their first partner are more likely to become pregnant than those who are the same age, and their pregnancies are less likely to end in abortion than in a marital birth. Women who are younger than their first partner are no more likely to become pregnant than other women after the effects of other characteristics are taken into account. The male partner's education is negatively associated with the likelihood of nonmarital pregnancy but is positively associated with the likelihood of abortion if a pregnancy occurs. Differences between partners in race or ethnicity do not affect the likelihood of a nonmarital pregnancy but do increase the likelihood that such a pregnancy will end in abortion or a nonmarital birth rather than in a marital birth. Conclusions: The characteristics of teenage women and their partners appear to play a role in nonmarital teenage pregnancy and its outcome. However, the estimated relationships between one partner's characteristics and the probability of a nonmarital pregnancy and its resolution are generally little affected by whether the other partner's characteristics are also taken into account.

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