How Accurately Can We Predict Repeat Teen Pregnancy Based on Social Ecological Factors?
Evaluating Selected Programs for Expectant and Parenting Youth (PEPY)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Population Affairs
- Significant predictors of repeat pregnancy were the teen mother having a parent with a serious drinking or drug problem when she was a child, being older, not living with a mother figure, not intending to abstain from sex or use a long-acting reversible contraceptive, and having lower resiliency skills.
- However, predictors were limited in accurately predicting repeat pregnancy.
Many factors at the individual, relationship, family, and community or environmental levels could predict repeat teen pregnancies or births, but research on certain factors is limited. In addition, few studies have examined whether these factors can accurately predict whether teen mothers will have a repeat pregnancy. This study examined theoretically selected predictors of repeat teen pregnancy among 945 pregnant and parenting teens (M age = 17), most of whom were Hispanic/Latina (86%). Logistic regression with 47 predictors measured at baseline was used to predict repeat pregnancy. Predictors were selected based on backward selection that aimed for a balance between model performance and model complexity. A random forest model was also used to determine how accurately repeat pregnancy could be predicted based on all predictors. Significant predictors of repeat pregnancy were the teen mother having a parent with a serious drinking or drug problem when she was a child, being older, not living with a mother figure, not intending to abstain from sex or use a long-acting reversible contraceptive, and having lower resiliency skills. However, predictors explained limited variance in repeat pregnancy, and their accuracy in predicting repeat pregnancy was low. More research is needed to identify accurate predictors of repeat pregnancy because this could inform program providers or developers about areas that warrant more focus in programming for teen parents, and it could help identify teen mothers at higher risk of a repeat pregnancy so they could be the focus of specific programming.
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