Parental Pregnancy Wantedness and Child Social-Emotional Development
To examine how maternal and paternal pregnancy wantedness and couple concordance regarding pregnancy wantedness predict children’s social-emotional development in kindergarten. We used data from nationally representative US sample from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Birth Cohort. Exposures of interest were maternal and paternal pregnancy wantedness, and couple concordance regarding pregnancy wantedness. Children’s social-emotional development was evaluated by the child’s kindergarten teacher using an adapted version of the Preschool and Kindergarten Behavior Scales. We examined bivariate associations between pregnancy wantedness and key socio-demographic variables in relation to children’s social-emotional development. Multiple linear regression was used to assess the relationship between each pregnancy wantedness predictor and children’s social-emotional development scores. Items related to child concentration and attention appeared to be the components driving almost all the associations with social-emotional development. Maternal report of unwanted pregnancy, resident father’s report of mistimed pregnancy, and discordance of parental pregnancy wantedness (specifically when the mother wanted but the father did not want the pregnancy) predicted lower children’s social-emotional development scores. Results suggest that maternal unwanted pregnancy and couple discordance in pregnancy wantedness were associated with poorer social-emotional development, especially in the area of concentration and attention, in kindergarten.
KeywordsPregnancy intention Unwanted pregnancy Children’s social-emotional development Couples
The authors would like to thank the Department of Education for access to the ECLS-B data used in this study.
- 7.Suhrcke, M., Pillas, D., & Selai, C. (2007). Economic aspects of mental health in children and adolescents. Venice: WHO.Google Scholar
- 9.Humbert, L., Saywell, R. M., Jr, Zollinger, T. W., et al. (2011). The effect of pregnancy intention on important maternal behaviors and satisfaction with care in a socially and economically at-risk population. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 15(7), 1055–1066. doi: 10.07/s10995-010-0646-z.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 17.Skovgaard, A. M., Olsen, E. M., Christiansen, E., et al. (2008). Predictors (0–10 months) of psychopathology at age 11/2 years—A general population study in The Copenhagen Child Cohort CCC 2000. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 49(5), 553–562. Epub 2008 Mar 10.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 21.Snow, K., Thalji, L., Wheeless, S., et al. (2007). Early childhood longitudinal study, birth cohort (ECLS-B), preschool year: Data file user’s manual (2005-06) (NCES 2008-024). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education.Google Scholar
- 24.David, H. P., Dytrych, Z., Matejcek, Z., et al. (1988). Born unwanted: Developmental effects of denied abortion. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
- 27.Nunes, A. P., & Phipps, M. G. (2012). Postpartum depression in adolescent and adult mothers: Comparing prenatal risk factors and predictive models. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 12, 12.Google Scholar
- 29.Kirkland CL, Skuban EM, Adler-Baeder F, et al. (2011) Effects of relationship/marriage education on co-parenting and children’s social skills: Examining rural minority parent’s experiences. Early Childhood Research & Practice. 13(2).Google Scholar