Document Detail

Early puberty and adolescent pregnancy: the influence of alcohol use.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  16322170     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
OBJECTIVE: Early pubertal timing predicts deleterious outcomes for young girls, including substance use, risky sexual behavior, and pregnancy. In turn, adolescent pregnancy predicts long-term negative consequences such as reduced educational attainment and income-earning potential. Despite evidence of the direct links between early puberty and negative outcomes, this study is the first to examine the role that alcohol plays in the timing of sexual intercourse and pregnancy among early-maturing females. DESIGN: Participants were 666 females, aged 18 to 22 years, from 4 major ethnic groups in Arizona (non-Hispanic white, black, Latino, and Native American). All women included in the sample had experienced a pregnancy in their teens or early 20s. Participants completed a self-administered questionnaire that inquired about their timing of menarche, sexual initiation, first alcohol use, and age at first pregnancy. A mediating model predicting age at pregnancy was tested by using path modeling. RESULTS: Early puberty was found to be associated with earlier age of alcohol use and sexual initiation, which in turn predicted early pregnancy. Age at first sexual intercourse and age at first substance use significantly mediated the relation between age at menarche and age at first pregnancy. The results did not vary by ethnic group. CONCLUSIONS: Girls who mature early are more likely to engage in early substance use and sexual intercourse, which in turn puts them at greater risk for adolescent pregnancy. It is important that health care providers are sensitive to the risks associated with early maturation among young girls and provide preventive screening, education, and counseling related to alcohol use and sexual initiation for this group.
Julianna Deardorff; Nancy A Gonzales; F Scott Christopher; Mark W Roosa; Roger E Millsap
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Pediatrics     Volume:  116     ISSN:  1098-4275     ISO Abbreviation:  Pediatrics     Publication Date:  2005 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2005-12-02     Completed Date:  2005-12-22     Revised Date:  2007-11-14    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0376422     Medline TA:  Pediatrics     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1451-6     Citation Subset:  AIM; IM    
Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Adolescent Behavior*
Alcohol Drinking
Models, Theoretical
Pregnancy in Adolescence*
Puberty, Precocious
Sexual Behavior
Grant Support

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