Few conditions affect optimal psychosocial development to a greater degree than childhood abuse. High- risk sexual behaviors and teen pregnancy are among the most tangible manifestations of developmental disruption for females. Adverse childhood experiences such as maltreatment (e.g., neglect, physical abuse, or sexual abuse) are clearly associated with inordinately high rates of teen pregnancy, as the rate of teen pregnancy for maltreated adolescents has been estimated to be approximately 4 times higher than the national average. The proposed study is a prospective longitudinal study of 345 maltreated and 204 comparison nulliparous adolescent females aged 14 through 18 and seeks to identify pre-pregnancy factors and predispositional antecedents of subsequent pregnancy-risk defined as: high-risk sexual behaviors, teen pregnancy, and teen motherhood. Informed by past research, the proposed study will employ a comprehensive, multivariate assessment strategy of hypothesized pre-pregnancy mechanisms previously demonstrated to be important correlates of subsequent pregnancy-risk. The proposed study will improve on past research by 1) providing solid prospective evidence that maltreated adolescents have inordinately high pregnancy-risk, 2) testing whether pre-pregnancy mechanisms measured earlier in development mediate the effect of maltreatment on subsequent pregnancy-risk, 3) illuminating unique pathways to pregnancy-risk for maltreated females, and 4) providing a better understanding of the points in adolescent development when females are at particular risk for subsequent high-risk sexual behaviors, teen pregnancy, and teen motherhood. The proposed study will also identify the differential impact of abuse characteristics on outcome, and explore protective factors that may serve to moderate the effects of maltreatment. Finally, the proposed study will contrast pathways to high-risk sexuality, teen pregnancy, and teen motherhood across diverse ethnic groups including African Americans, Whites, and a largely understudied and underserved ethnic group of urban Appalachians. Results will inform new directions in treatment and intervention strategies for adolescents who are at particular risk for engaging in high-risk sexual behaviors, becoming pregnant, or becoming a teenage parent.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Psychosocial Development, Risk and Prevention Study Section (PDRP)
Program Officer
Maholmes, Valerie
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Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
United States
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Kugler, Kari C; Guastaferro, Kate; Shenk, Chad E et al. (2018) The effect of substantiated and unsubstantiated investigations of child maltreatment and subsequent adolescent health. Child Abuse Negl :
Rivera, Peter M; Bray, Bethany C; Guastaferro, Kate et al. (2018) Linking Patterns of Substance Use With Sexual Risk-Taking Among Female Adolescents With and Without Histories of Maltreatment. J Adolesc Health 62:556-562
Noll, Jennie G; Guastaferro, Kate; Beal, Sarah J et al. (2018) Is Sexual Abuse a Unique Predictor of Sexual Risk Behaviors, Pregnancy, and Motherhood in Adolescence? J Res Adolesc :
Shenk, Chad E; Noll, Jennie G; Peugh, James L et al. (2016) Contamination in the Prospective Study of Child Maltreatment and Female Adolescent Health. J Pediatr Psychol 41:37-45
Shenk, Chad E; Putnam, Frank W; Rausch, Joseph R et al. (2014) A longitudinal study of several potential mediators of the relationship between child maltreatment and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. Dev Psychopathol 26:81-91
Noll, Jennie G; Shenk, Chad E (2013) Teen birth rates in sexually abused and neglected females. Pediatrics 131:e1181-7
Shenk, Chad E; Putnam, Frank W; Noll, Jennie G (2013) Predicting the accuracy of facial affect recognition: the interaction of child maltreatment and intellectual functioning. J Exp Child Psychol 114:229-42
Noll, Jennie G; Shenk, Chad E; Barnes, Jaclyn E et al. (2013) Association of maltreatment with high-risk internet behaviors and offline encounters. Pediatrics 131:e510-7
Shenk, Chad E; Putnam, Frank W; Noll, Jennie G (2012) Experiential avoidance and the relationship between child maltreatment and PTSD symptoms: preliminary evidence. Child Abuse Negl 36:118-26
Noll, Jennie G; Haralson, Katherine J; Butler, Erica M et al. (2011) Childhood maltreatment, psychological dysregulation, and risky sexual behaviors in female adolescents. J Pediatr Psychol 36:743-52

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