Predictors of Pregnancy Rates Among Young Latinas
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The study examined predictors of high pregnancy rates among young Latinas in the U.S. Previous studies have shown that young Latinas have the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country (National Vital Reports, 2011). Though the rates for Latinas have declined, Latinas continue to have the highest teen pregnancy rates among all ethnicity groups (Center for Public Policy Priorities National Report, 2007; Maternidad Latina Promoting Child and Maternal Care, 2008). Studies show the rate to be more than twice when compared to White/Caucasian girls (National Vital Reports, 2011). The study proposed to better understand why Latina girls have such an alarming teen pregnancy rate. The participants consisted of 73 girls that identified themselves as Latina/Hispanic and were between the ages of 15-30. Most of the participants were from the border region with Mexico. The women that participated were not married and did not have children. Cultural beliefs about whether Latinas believed contraception use harmed their health, caused illness, or made them look promiscuous were measured. Other measurements included their opinions about having unprotected sex with someone they loved and trusted, about whether they had to be in love to have a baby, about whether using contraceptives was wrong because they valued a child’s birth, and whether the discussion of sex with parents was considered taboo, among other beliefs. These beliefs were correlated with their beliefs about their likelihood of getting pregnant, of having an unplanned pregnancy, of how much and how soon they intended and wanted a baby. The results showed that Latinas’ beliefs about contraceptive use causing illness or harming their health was correlated with their perceived likelihood of getting pregnant r(71) = .30, p < .01, having an unplanned pregnancy r(71) = .32, p = .01, and how soon they wanted to have a baby r(71) = .35, p < .01. Their opinion about having unprotected sex with someone they trusted and loved was related to their perceived likelihood of getting pregnant r(71) = .33, p < .01, having an unplanned pregnancy r(71) = .39, p < .01, and how soon they intended to have a baby r(71) = .48, p < .01. Their opinion about not using contraceptives because they prevented a child’s birth was related to how soon they want a baby r(71) = .37, p < .01 and how soon they intended to have baby r(71) = .35, p < .01. Thus, there are cultural beliefs that are linked with behavioral intentions and perceived chances of getting pregnant. Hopefully this research clarifies factors that are linked to Latina pregnancy rates. Such an understanding will help policy makers and service providers better address these concerns.