260709 Pre-Teen Reading Ability: A Potential Predictor of Teen Pregnancy

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 : 12:50 PM - 1:10 PM

Ian M. Bennett, MD, PhD , Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Rosemary Frasso, PhD, MSc, CPH , Center for Public Health Initiatives, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
Kennen Gross, MPH , CML, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Scarlett Bellamy, ScD , Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Pennsylvannia, Philadelphia, PA
Introduction: Teen child bearing remains a public health concern and can compromise the health of the mother and child across the life span. Identification of upstream risk factors for teen childbearing can inform pre-teen interventions. Methods: We evaluated the association between pre-teen reading skill and teenage childbearing and assessed interactions between reading skill and other risk factors. A cohort of girls enrolled in 7th grade (Philadelphia Public Schools) during the1996-'97 and 1997-'98 academic years was constructed by linking reading scores from Stanford Achievement Test Version 9 (SAT-9) to individual level birth records (1996-2002) and US census data (Philadelphia). We compared hazard ratios for teen-childbearing for a period of six years following the SAT-9 among girls with below average (<23rd national percentile), and above average (>76th national percentile) reading performance compared to those with average performance. Results: Among 12,339 girls 2,031 live births were identified over the analysis period. When compared to girls with average reading skill, less than average reading skill was associated with 2.5 times the risk of teen childbearing (aHR 2.51, 95% CI: 1.67-3.77) while above average reading skill was associated with less risk (aHR 0.27, 95% CI 0.17-0.44) in the final hazards model, adjusted for race/ethnicity and percent vacant homes per block group. A significant interaction (P<0.05) was found between reading skill and race/ethnicity. Conclusions: Pre-teen reading skill is associated with teenage childbearing independent of other established risk factors. The effects of pre-teen reading skill were stronger among teens with Hispanic or African American race/ethnicity.

Learning Areas:
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Discuss new early risk factors for teen pregnancy. Describe the association between pre-teen reading ability and subsequent teen pregnancy.

Keywords: Literacy, Teen Pregnancy Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been doing research in the area for several years, and have collaborated with experts in the area in preparation of this abstract and the associated manuscript.
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.