Prevalence of physical and sexual assault in pregnant adolescents

Abbey B. Berenson, Virginia V. San Miguel, Gregg S. Wilkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)466-469
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 1992


  • 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


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