Childhood sexual abuse and adolescent pregnancy: a meta-analytic update

J Pediatr Psychol. 2009 May;34(4):366-78. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsn098. Epub 2008 Sep 15.


Objective: Recent increases in adolescent pregnancies have sparked a renewed impetus to identify risk factors, such as childhood sexual abuse (CSA), associated with adolescent pregnancy. Given mixed evidence regarding the strength of the relationship between CSA and adolescent pregnancy (Blinn-Pike, Berger, Dixon, Kuschel, & Kaplan, 2002), our objective was to provide an estimate of the effect size of this relationship using updated literature and meta-analytic techniques.

Methods: Meta-analyses of 21 studies were conducted using a random effects model of binary outcomes to determine aggregate effect-size estimates controlling for study heterogeneity.

Results: CSA significantly increased the odds of experiencing an adolescent pregnancy by 2.21-fold (95% CI: 1.94-2.51). A supplemental analysis suggested that 4.5 out of 10 pregnant adolescents may have a prior history of CSA.

Conclusions: CSA places females at increased risk for subsequent adolescent pregnancy. Addressing conditions associated with CSA might impact the overall adolescent pregnancy rate.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology*
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Crime Victims / psychology*
  • Crime Victims / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Odds Ratio
  • Ohio
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence / psychology*
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors