Teen mothers' educational attainment and their children's risk for teenage childbearing

C. Emily Hendrick, Julie Maslowsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The children of teen mothers are at elevated risk for becoming teen parents themselves. The current study aimed to identify how levels of mothers' education were associated with risk of teenage childbearing for children of teen versus nonteen mothers. Through structural equation modeling, we tested whether children's environmental and personal characteristics in adolescence and subsequent sexual risk behaviors mediated the relationship between their mothers' educational attainment and their risk for teenage childbearing. With multiple-group models, we assessed whether the associations of maternal educational attainment with children's outcomes were similar for the children of teen and nonteen mothers. The sample (N = 1,817) contained linked data from female National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1979 (NLSY79) participants and their first-born child (son or daughter) from the NLSY79 Children and Young Adults. The mediating pathways linking higher levels of maternal education to lower risk for teenage childbearing, and magnitudes of the associations, were mostly similar for children of teen and nonteen mothers. However, nonteen mothers experienced greater associations of their high school diploma attainment (vs. no degree) with some of their children's outcomes. Also, the association of earning a high school diploma (vs. a GED) with household incomes was greater for nonteen mothers; there was no significant difference between degree types for teen mothers. Findings provide support for teen mother secondary school support programming, but point to a need for further research regarding the long-term behavioral and social outcomes associated with the high school equivalency certificate for teen mothers and their children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1259-1273
Number of pages15
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Volume55
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2019

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Mothers
Nuclear Family
Longitudinal Studies
school
reproductive behavior
Education
household income
risk behavior
adolescence
young adult
certification
Risk-Taking
education
secondary school
Sexual Behavior
parents
programming
Young Adult
Parents
Research

Keywords

  • Intergenerational cycle of teenage childbearing
  • Maternal education
  • Teenage childbearing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

Cite this

Teen mothers' educational attainment and their children's risk for teenage childbearing. / Hendrick, C. Emily; Maslowsky, Julie.

In: Developmental psychology, Vol. 55, No. 6, 06.2019, p. 1259-1273.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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