Experience of violence among teenage mothers in Alaska.
ABSTRACT To quantify the experience of violence before, during, and after pregnancy among teenage mothers compared to older mothers and to identify the proportion of births to teenagers that result from statutory rape.
We analyzed data collected during 1991-1994 from the Alaska Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS), a population-based, stratified sample survey of 200 of the approximately 900 Alaska resident women each month who have delivered a live infant.
Compared to new mothers at least 20 years of age, mothers < 18 and 18-19 years of age were approximately twice as likely to report having experienced violence during pregnancy (10% vs. 4%) and were two to three times as likely to have experienced violence after pregnancy (10% and 6%, respectively, vs. 3%). When controlling for potentially confounding factors, however, age was associated with the experience of violence only for mothers < 18 years after pregnancy. The percentage of women who reported experiencing violence each week increased following pregnancy for mothers of all ages. At least 38.9% and up to 66.2% of all births to unmarried teenagers younger than 16 years of age resulted from second-degree statutory rape.
Teenage mothers are more likely to experience violence during and after their pregnancy than older women and for women of all ages the risk increases after pregnancy. Nearly half of the births to the youngest teenagers result from second-degree statutory rape.