Psychosocial predictors of pregnancy among low-income African-American adolescent females: A prospective analysis

Richard A. Crosby, Ralph J. DiClemente, Gina M. Wingood, Ralph J. DiClemente, Ralph J. DiClemente, Richard A. Crosby, Ralph J. DiClemente, Kathy Harrington, Suzy Davies, Suzy Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To prospectively identify psychosocial predictors of pregnancy among African-American adolescent females. Methods: African-American females, 14-18 yrs old, were recruited from schools and health clinics in low-income neighborhoods. Adolescents completed an in-depth survey and provided urine specimens for pregnancy testing at baseline and 6-month intervals for 1.5 years. Selected problem behaviors, demographic, and psychosocial variables were tested for bivariate and multivariate significance relative to biologically confirmed pregnancy during the follow-up period. Only adolescents who initially tested negative for pregnancy were included (n = 241). Results: About 26% (n = 63) of the adolescents became pregnant over the follow-up period. Although a broad spectrum of variables achieved bivariate significance, few retained significance in the multivariate model. Multivariate predictors of pregnancy were biologically confirmed marijuana use (adjusted odds ratios [AOR] = 12.4, P = 0.0003) and perceiving that the sex partner desired pregnancy (AOR = 1.27, P = 0.01). A protective effect was observed for adolescents who reported that a family member received welfare benefits; these adolescents were about 60% less likely to become pregnant (AOR = 0.38, P = 0.04). Conclusions: Pediatricians and other health professionals who participate in community efforts to prevent first and subsequent adolescent pregnancies may benefit from recognizing that marijuana use and pregnancy may be co-occurring problems. Adolescents' perceptions of their boyfriends' level of desire for conception may also be an important predictor of pregnancy risk. The findings also suggest a possible protective effect of receiving TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) benefits; adolescent recipients of these programs may be more vigilant in their pregnancy prevention practices than those who are not recipients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-299
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 2002


  • Adolescents
  • African-American
  • Females
  • Pregnancy
  • Sexual behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Psychosocial predictors of pregnancy among low-income African-American adolescent females: A prospective analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this