Journal Article

Sociodemographic differences in the occurrence of teenage pregnancies in Finland in 1987-1998: a follow-up study

Vikat, A., Rimpelä, A. H., Kosunen, E. A.-L., Rimpelä, M. K.
Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 56:9, 659–668 (2002)


Study objective — To analyse socio-demographic differences in the occurrence of pregnancies to 14 to 19 year-olds and changes in these differences from 1987 to 1998. Design — Follow-up of adolescent survey respondents using registers. Setting and subjects — The data set includes information on all registered pregnancies (abortions, births, and miscarriages, N=2743) of the female respondents (N=28,914) to the Adolescent Health and Lifestyle Survey (AHLS) from 1987 to 1998. In the AHLS, self-administered questionnaires were mailed every second year to independent samples of 12, 14, 16 and 18 year-olds representative for Finland. Main outcome measure — Relative risk (hazard) of becoming pregnant at teenage. Main results —Girls from lower socio-economic background had a higher pregnancy risk. Girls who did not live with both parents at the baseline survey had higher pregnancy risk than those who did, and girls who lived in a stepfamily had a higher risk than those who lived in a one-parent family. Swedish-speaking girls had a lower pregnancy risk than the Finnish-speaking. There was no systematic change from 1987 to 1998 in most socio-demographic differentials in the teenage pregnancy risk, however, there was some increase in the differences by family structure. Changes in the socio-demographic structure did not explain the levelling-off of the downward trend in teenage pregnancy risk, nor did the regional socio-economic differences explain regional differentials in teenage pregnancy risk. Conclusion — Although the reduction of socio-economic and regional differences has been a general objective in Finnish social and health policies, the relative differences in teenage pregnancies have not decreased.
Keywords: Finland, adolescent pregnancy, socio-economic differentials
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