The Association of Teen Pregnancy and Violence: A Multilevel Study in Colombia

Angela Maria Ruiz-Sternberg, Maria Botero-Pinzon, María José Niño-Orrego, Angela Maria Pinzon-Rondon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Colombia has a high teen pregnancy (TP) rate. In 2018, one in five pregnancies was from teen mothers between 10 and 19 years of age. While TP rates are declining globally, Colombia's TP rate decline has been particularly low, despite sexual education and contraception campaigns. Other factors must be studied to prevent TP. Colombia has a long history of violence. We aim to assess whether there is a relationship between TP and exposure to violence in Colombia. Methods: Data from the Colombian Demographic and Health Survey 2015 and the Colombian National Department of Statistics were analyzed for association between TP and sexual violence, physical violence, physical punishment as a child, and community violence. Univariate, bivariate, multivariate, and multilevel binary logistic regression models were calculated using SPSS v.25 and HLM v.7. Results: Fifteen percent of teens were pregnant. Emotional violence was reported by 47%, sexual harassment by 27%, physical violence by 17%, physical punishment as a child by 7%, and unwanted sex by 2%. Unwanted sex (odds ratio [OR]: 3.18, 95% confidence interval [95% CI]: 1.96-5.16), sexual harassment (OR: 2.43, 95% CI: 1.89-3.14), and physical punishment (OR: 20.30, 95% CI: 7.96-22.81) were associated with adolescent pregnancy. In unadjusted models, emotional violence was associated (OR: 1.22, 95% CI 1.06-1.40) and community violence showed a tendency (OR: 1.24, 95% CI: 0.99-1.55). Physical violence was not associated. Conclusions: Violence exposure and particularly physical punishment, unwanted sex and sexual harassment were associated with TP incidence and should be considered risk factors for TP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-55
Number of pages10
JournalWomen's Health Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Maternity and Midwifery
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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