Is the risk of teenage motherhood influenced by area of residence?
Doherty, R., Rosato, M., Wright, D.M. & O'Reilly, D. (2014) BSPS Annual Conference 2014, Univ of Winchester, 8 - 10 September 2014. [NILS]
The UK has the highest rates of teenage motherhood (TM) in Western Europe and unintended pregnancy is costly for adolescents and society in general. The relationship to individual social and material disadvantage is established but the influence of area of residence is unclear. We tested whether there were additional risks of TM in deprived areas or in cities. The Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study was used to identify a cohort of females enumerated in the 2001 Census who would be aged 15-19 between 2001 and 2009. Risk of TM was measured using multilevel logistic regression, adjusting for established risk factors (health, religion, family structure and SES). Settlement bands and Index of Multiple Deprivation represented an urban/rural gradient and area deprivation respectively. All the individual and household attributes were related to TM in the expected direction, e.g. the risk of TM for women in the most expensive housing was considerably lower than for their peers in the least expensive housing (ORadj 0.23, 95%CI [0.14, 0.40]). Risk of TM was elevated in deprived areas and there was an urban/rural gradient, with higher risks among city dwellers than those in rural and intermediate areas (ORadj 1.24 [1.04, 1.47]). We conclude that teenage motherhood is independently associated with area of residence. The higher risk in deprived areas may be a response to poor employment prospects and the elevated risk in cities may be due to greater opportunity given the higher concentration of teenagers, though other factors such as access to alcohol may also be important.