The long-term effects of school-age pregnancy were investigated in a 20-year follow-up of a cohort of women who were pregnant adolescents in the late 1960s. Of the 149 living young black primiparas in the original cohort, 121 (81%) were located and interviewed. At follow-up the study population ranged in age from 32 to 38 years, 68% were unmarried, 71% had finished high school, 82% were completely self-supporting, and 27% reported living in public housing. Long-term success, defined as currently employed or supported by a spouse and a high school education (62%) or its equivalent, was associated with six features: having completed more school prior to becoming pregnant (odds ratio [OR] = 18; 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.3, 139.5); participating more actively in a program intervention offered to these pregnant teenagers 20 years ago (OR = 11.11; 95% CI 1.54, 79.87); being in school with no subsequent pregnancy at 26 months postpartum (OR = 10.1; 95% CI 1.64, 62.07); feeling in control of one's life (OR = 5.4; 95% CI 1.36, 21.54) and little social isolation (OR = 8.24; 95% CI 1.56, 43.50) at 26 months postpartum; and lifetime fertility control defined as one or two children after the index child (OR = 14.19; 95% CI 3.28, 61.29). It is concluded that most former teenage mothers complete a reasonable amount of education and are economically self-sufficient. Further, a comprehensive program that served these women 20 years ago when they were pregnant was related to long-term success. This result supports the idea that short-term targeted spending can produce long-term social benefits.
- Received April 26, 1990.
- Accepted July 5, 1990.
- Copyright © 1991 by the American Academy of Pediatrics