197113 Investigating Important Variables that Affect Teenage Pregnancy Rates Across 50 States in the US

Monday, November 9, 2009

Claudine Leslie-Ann Brown, BS , School fo Graduate Studies, Meharry Medical College, Nashvile, TN
Chau-Kuang Chen, EDD , Institutional Research, Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN
Background: The United States has one of the highest rates of unintended teenage pregnancy in the industrialized world. About one third of girls in the United Stated get pregnant before the age of 20. This study identifies important variables contributing to teenage pregnancy using the Artificial Neural Network (ANN) and Auto regressive Models.

Research Hypothesis: - At least one of the independent variables contributes significantly to teenage pregnancy rates across the fifty states.

Method: The data used for this study was collected from the US department of Labor and was representative of fifty states between the years 2000 and 2006. ANN and Auto Regressive models were used to establish the relationship between teenage pregnancy Rates and the explanatory variables. Explanatory variables entered into the models included: unemployment rates, race, the number persons with grade 9 through 12 grade education without diploma, per capita income and the number of teenagers in foster care.

Results: The empirical results show that, the variables of race, level of education and number of teenagers in foster care in that order, were significant contributors to teenage pregnancy rates across the fifty states.

Conclusion/Implications of the study: Teenage pregnancy is one of the key indicators of the health of the teen population. The recent reversal in the trend of declining teenage pregnancy in the US has been a cause for grave concern. If the most important variables contributing to this problem can be identified, targeted and efficacious interventions can be put in place to reverse this negative trend.

Learning Objectives:
1) To analyze the trends in teenage pregnancy across the US 2) To explain the important variables affecting the teenage pregnancy rates across fifty states 3) To demonstrate the practical uses statistical models in the field of public health Practice.

Keywords: Teen Pregnancy, Statistics

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: No Conflict of interest
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.