The younger siblings of teenage mothers: a follow-up of their pregnancy risk

Dev Psychol. 2001 Mar;37(2):254-64. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.37.2.254.


This study followed 243 younger brothers and younger sisters of parenting teens and nonparenting teens across a 1.5-year period. The average age of siblings was 13.6 years at Time 1 and 15 years at Time 2. Relative to other youths, the sisters of parenting teens exhibited a sharp increase in drug and alcohol use and partying behavior across time and had the highest pregnancy rate at Time 2 (15%). The siblings of parenting teens spent 10 hr a week caring for their sisters' children, and, for girls, many hours of child care was associated with negative outcomes including permissive sexual behavior. Findings suggest that the younger sisters of parenting teens are at very high risk of early pregnancy and that this risk becomes increasingly pronounced across time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nuclear Family
  • Parenting*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence*
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Substance-Related Disorders / etiology*