Teen pregnancy, motherhood, and unprotected sexual activity


  • The authors express their appreciation to Sylvia Duarte, Ymasumac Marañon, Sidni Myles, Rachel Oakes, and Elsa Reyes for recruitment and evaluation; and to Moore Rhys and Carmen Turner-Pluta for research and editorial assistance and administrative support.


The sexual behaviors and attitudes toward condom use of adolescent mothers (N = 572) from ethnic minority groups were examined. Constructs from social cognitive theory (SCT), the theory of reasoned action (TRA), and the theory of planned behavior (TPB; e.g., intentions to use condoms, self-efficacy, outcome expectancies) were measured with questionnaires. Measures of AIDS and condom-use knowledge and selected psychosocial, behavioral, and demographic variables were included. Many adolescents reported early onset of sexual activity, multiple lifetime sexual partners, substance use, and childhood sexual or physical abuse. Only 18% stated a condom was used at last intercourse. Using hierarchical regression analysis, 13% of the variance for factors associated with unprotected sex was accounted for by TRA constructs. Other variables contributed an additional 17% of the variance. Unprotected sex was associated with behavioral intentions to use condoms, pregnancy, having a steady partner, more frequent church service attendance, and ever having anal sex. Findings support the urgent need for broad-based HIV prevention efforts for adolescent mothers that build on theoretical concepts and address the realities of their lives. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 26:4–19, 2003