Few studies have addressed the prevalence of violence among pregnant adolescents. We interviewed 342 pregnant teenagers 17 years of age or younger for a history of assault; 9% reported physical assault, 8% sexual assault, and 8% both physical and sexual assault. Of those physically abused, 40% had been hit during pregnancy. The most common perpetrator of physical assault was a member of their family of origin as compared to a mate (46% versus 33%), although a boyfriend or spouse was the attacker in 80% of cases in which abuse had increased during pregnancy. The face or neck was the most common site of contact. A total of 14% reported being hit in the abdomen, one-third of them while pregnant. We conclude that a significant proportion of pregnant teenagers have experienced violence and therefore should be screened routinely for a history of abuse.
- Physical abuse Sexual abuse Child abuse Battering Adolescent pregnancy Teen pregnancy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Psychiatry and Mental health