241377 Early childbearing among Mexican-American young women: Participatory photography sheds light on the role of neighborhood context

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 8:30 AM

Dawn Richardson, DrPH, MPH , School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Amani M. Nuru-Jeter, PhD, MPH , School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
BACKGROUND: Mexican-American young women are disproportionately affected by early childbearing. Neighborhood-level factors have been associated with high birth rates among teens, yet most research on this population focuses on micro-level influences. This study was conducted in order to better understand how Mexican-American young women conceptualize and experience their neighborhood context, and how this context may create a risk environment for early childbearing. METHODS: This study utilized a qualitative, mixed-methods descriptive design. Data was collected over four weeks using focus groups, participatory photography, and photo-elicitation in order to gain a more nuanced understanding of how neighborhood context is conceptualized and experienced by Mexican-American young women, and how these experiences may influence risk for early childbearing. RESULTS: Ten Mexican-American young women 15 to 17 years of age participated in this study. Two themes emerged: (1) Participants view their “block” as their neighborhood, regardless of any imposed designations commonly used by researchers. (2) Participants' social environments extend beyond their “blocks” and neighborhoods, including spaces they travel through daily. (2) Emergent themes characterizing the quality of neighborhood contexts include gang activity and persistent discrimination experiences. CONCLUSION: Using qualitative and visual data, the findings inform our knowledge of Mexican-American young women's understandings of and experiences with neighborhood context. These findings point to the importance of neighborhood-level factors in the lives of Mexican-American young women, and may be used to inform future studies looking at the relationship of neighborhood context to early childbearing among this population, particularly as it relates to the measurement of neighborhood.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss neighborhood context as it relates to early childbearing among Mexican-American young women, specifically how the presence of gang violence and discrimination may create a risk environment for this outcome. 2. Explain the importance of youth residents’ local knowledge when assessing risk environments, particularly with regard to what neighborhood is and how neighborhood is experienced. 3. Describe the utility of participatory photography as a research method for engaging youth.

Keywords: Teen Pregnancy, Participatory Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am a researcher with training and experience in adolescent health, the role of neighborhood context, and participatory methods.
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.