Alcohol consumption, wantedness, and support of pregnant adolescents
Shortt, Sandra Small
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The purpose of this study was to explore relationships between pregnant teens' use of alcohol before and during pregnancy and several personal and social variables, including the wantedness of the pregnancy, support of the pregnancy by significant others, pregnant teens' reasons for drinking, the context of their drinking, and the use of alcohol by significant others. This information is needed to plan and evaluate effective prenatal education and intervention programs related to the use of alcohol during pregnancy. Such programs are important in light of increasing numbers of pregnant teens, the number of female adolescent drinkers, and findings about the effects of moderate and binge drinking on fetal development. Subjects consisted of 14 to 19 year old patients of the High-Risk Ob/Gyn Clinic at Roanoke Memorial Hospitals. These patients were predominantly low income urban and suburban teens, with some referrals from areas outside Roanoke City and County. Subjects responded anonymously to a written questionnaire. One-fourth of the subjects were classified as drinkers according to their binge drinking before and during pregnancy. Higher percentages of drinkers than abstainers were white, married, had been pregnant at least once in the past, and intended to become pregnant. Proportionately fewer drinkers indicated religious preferences or attended church services on a regular basis. Drinkers were more likely to smoke and smoked more than abstainers. Personal effects reasons for drinking, consumption in settings where adults were not present, and weekly consumption by peers and boyfriends/husbands were reported by significantly higher percentages of drinkers than nondrinkers. Wantedness and support of significant others were significantly related. Knowledge of the potential harm that all types of alcoholic beverages pose to fetal development was reported by over 70% of the sample. Key sources of knowledge about alcohol and fetal risk were subjects' mothers, pamphlets or books, school health class, the RMH Clinic and television. Boyfriends were also a key source of information for drinkers. Implications of these findings for clinical and educational practice are discussed.
- Doctoral Dissertations