Comparing the Life Situations and Early Development of the Children of Current and Past Teenage Mothers and Adult Mothers

Jeffrey A Dennis, University of Colorado at Boulder

Nationally representative quantitative research has rarely examined how early parenthood affects the early development and life situations of teenage mothers’ children. In particular, is it teenage mothers’ young age that potentially compromises their children’s development, or the multiple disadvantages they generally face? We use the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort, which collected data when children were about 9 months (2001) and 2 years old (2003), to address these issues. Weighted bivariate comparisons show that teenage mothers’ children face significant disadvantage compared to adult mothers’ children in several areas of their lives, including their socioeconomic situations, home environments, and mothers’ parenting behaviors. Children born to teenage mothers have worse birth weight outcomes and behavioral and cognitive development and age 2. Prior teenage mothers who were adult at the birth of the child included in the study generally have slightly better outcomes than current teenage mothers, but worse than adult first-time mothers.

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Presented in Poster Session 6