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Keywords:

  • externalizing problems;
  • intergenerational effects;
  • internalizing problems;
  • teen childbearing;
  • teen pregnancy

This study tested the association between mother’s early age at first birth and various life outcomes for her children in later adolescence and early adulthood. Data were analyzed from the Rochester Youth Development Study, an ongoing panel study of adolescents enrolled in seventh or eighth grade in Rochester Public Schools in 1988 (N =729). Boys born to mothers who began childbearing before age 19 had elevated risks of drug use, gang membership, unemployment, and early parenthood. Girls born to young mothers only had elevated risks of early parenthood. Of the mediators tested, low maternal education had the largest mediating effects. The findings suggest that the risks associated with being born to a young mother are substantial but perhaps disproportionately so for boys.