Limited Socioeconomic Opportunities and Latina Teen Childbearing: A Qualitative Study of Family and Structural Factors Affecting Future Expectations
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The decrease in adolescent birth rates in the United States has been slower among Latinas than among other ethnic/racial groups. Limited research has explored how socioeconomic opportunities influence childbearing among Latina adolescents. We conducted in-depth interviews with 65 pregnant foreign- and US-born Latina women (31 adolescents; 34 adults) in two California counties. We assessed perceived socioeconomic opportunities and examined how family, immigration and acculturation affected the relationships between socioeconomic opportunities and adolescent childbearing. Compared with women who delayed childbearing into adulthood, pregnant adolescents described having few resources for educational and career development and experiencing numerous socioeconomic and social barriers to achieving their goals. Socioeconomic instability and policies limiting access to education influenced childbearing for immigrant adolescents. In contrast, family disintegration tied to poverty figured prominently in US-born adolescents’ childbearing. Limited socioeconomic opportunities may play a large role in persistently high pregnancy rates among Latina adolescents.
KeywordsHispanic Americans Pregnancy Unplanned Acculturation Immigration Socioeconomic factors
This research was funded by the California Department of Public Health, Center for Family Health, Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Program and the Office of Family Planning. Dr. Minnis’s contributions to the study also were supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health (K01 HD047434). The authors would like to thank the research interviewers and clinic staff who contributed to study recruitment and data collection activities.
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