Effects of area and family deprivation on risk factors for teenage pregnancy among 13-15-year-old girls.

Debbie M Smith, James Elander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Information is needed about how the effects of socio-economic deprivation on teenage pregnancy are mediated by proximal risk factors, in order to target area-wide and family interventions more effectively. Using a 2×2 factorial design, we tested the separate and interacting effects of area deprivation and family deprivation on six specific proximal risk factors for teenage pregnancy: early sexual activity, life expectations, knowledge and beliefs about contraceptives, attitude to abortion, beliefs about love, and use of local sexual health services. Data were collected from 201 13 – 15-year-old girls in deprived and non-deprived families living in deprived and more affluent areas of the United Kingdom. Area deprivation significantly increased early sexual activity, and both area and family deprivation significantly reduced life expectations. Significant interactions between area and family deprivation showed that the impact of living in a deprived area depends to some extent on family circumstances, with implications for targeting different types of intervention. Living in a deprived area increased early sexual activity much more markedly among girls in deprived families, so interventions to reduce early sexual activity could target individually deprived girls living in deprived areas. Living in a more affluent area increased life expectations, but only among girls in non-deprived families, so both area-wide and individually targeted interventions would be needed to raise life expectations among girls most at risk of teenage pregnancy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-410
JournalPsychology, Health and Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Area effects
  • early sex
  • life expectations
  • socio-economic deprivation
  • teenage pregnancy


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