Published Papers - Abstract 158

Miller-Lewis L, Wade T & Lee C. Risk factors for pregnancy and childbearing in single young women: Evidence from The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health. International Journal of Behavioural Development, 2005; 29(4): 292-303

This study investigated psychosocial predictors of early pregnancy and childbearing in single young women, consistent with the Eriksonian developmental perspective. Two-mail out surveys assessing reproductive behaviour and socio-demographic, education/competence, psychosocial well-being, and aspiration factors, were completed four years apart by 2635 young women, aged 18 to 20 when first surveyed. Young women in the ‘emerging adulthood’ developmental period were selected from the Australian Longitudinal Study of Women’s Health. Longitudinally, lower investment in education over low-status paid work, experiencing unemployment, greater psychosocial distress, stress and alcohol use, and high family aspirations combined with low vocational aspirations were risk factors for early single pregnancy and childbearing. Several mediational relationships also existed between these predictor variables. It was concluded that psychosocial factors play an important role in understanding early pregnancy and childbearing in single young Australian women, and that the findings provide some support for investigating early pregnancy and childbearing from an Eriksonian developmental perspective.