School Disengagement Patterns Before Conception Among New York City Teen Mothers: Informing the Timing of School-Based Pregnancy Prevention Programs

Cristina Yunzal-Butler
Judith Sackoff, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Sanders Korenman, CUNY Institute for Demographic Research (CIDR)

School-based pregnancy prevention programs should optimally be offered while students are still engaged in school since early disengagement is strongly associated with risk of a teen birth. We used linked NYC birth and enrollment data (2005-2013), a sample of 6,809 teen mothers (mean age conception=16.2). We measured preconception disengagement using monthly absences, age 12 until conception, and identified five attendance trajectories using group-based trajectory modeling. Overall, 37% of teen mothers were chronically absent (2-<4 absences/month) or worse by age 12, increasing to 56% by end of middle school, age 14. In two groups, 45-91% were severely chronically absent (>=4 /month) by 14, missing 1-2 weeks of school/month. In four groups >50% of teens were chronically absent or worse by age 15. For most teen mothers, disengagement was evident years before conception. To maximize the reach of school-based pregnancy prevention programs, interventions in middle school or earlier are required.

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 Presented in Session 60. Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health