This study attempts to determine which factors account for the spatial variation in teenage conception rates within the former Wessex Regional Health Authority and what factors account for the eventual outcomes of these conceptions. Postcoded data on all teenage conceptions from 1991 to 1994 were collected and related to census ward level information and indicators of accessibility to family planning services. The results show that the variation in teenage conception rates and conception outcomes is principally determined by the age of the teenager, deprivation levels, the presence of certain homogeneously distinct groups and the distance to the nearest youth-oriented family planning clinic.
PIP: There are large variations in teenage conception rates between developed countries and, within the UK, between regional health authorities (RHA) and district health authorities. Within England, and averaged for 1989-91, regional variation in conception rates per 1000 under 16 years of age ranged from 5.9 in South West Thames RHA to 12.8 in the North Western RHA, with a national rate of 9.6. Rates in the former Wessex RHA were toward the lower end of the national spectrum. The authors investigate and attempt to explain this variation in teenage conception rates between health districts and census wards in the former Wessex RHA between 1991 and 1994, as well as to examine the relative importance of the socioeconomic and demographic correlates of teen pregnancy and different types of family planning provision. Findings are based upon the relation of postcoded data for all teenage conceptions which occurred during 1991-94 to ward-based population characteristics and indicators of accessibility to family planning services. It was determined that the variations in teenage conception rates and conception outcomes are mainly factors of the age of the teenager, level of deprivation, the presence of certain homogeneously distinct groups, and the distance to the nearest youth-oriented family planning clinic.