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March 1995

Gravid Students: Characteristics of Nongravid Classmates Who React With Positive and Negative Feelings About Conception

Author Affiliations

From the Divisions of Adolescent Medicine, University of Colorado Health Science Center, Denver (Dr Stevens-Simon), and Denver Health and Hospitals (Ms Boyle).

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149(3):272-275. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1995.02170150052009

Objective:  To determine whether gravid classmates affect nongravid students' feelings about conception.

Method:  Cross-sectional survey of a school-based clinic population. We asked 130 nulliparous high school students who were seeking routine health care at an urban school-based clinic to complete an anonymous questionnaire concerning risk factors for and attitudes about teen pregnancy.

Results:  The respondents were grouped according to the effect that contact with gravid classmates had on their desire for conception: increased desire (n=13), no change in desire (n=59), and decreased desire (n=49). The analysis disclosed no significant group differences for age (mean±SD, 16.3±1.2 years), sex (65% female), welfare use (20%), or living situation (85% lived with a parent). The increased-desire group had significantly more sociodemographic risk factors for teen pregnancy than did the groups with no change and decreased desire. The group with increased desire was significantly more likely than the other two groups to be failing in school (54% vs 44% and 12.2%; P<.001), to have low education goals (15.4% vs 3.4% and 0%; P=.02), to be unhappy with their family support (69.2% vs 27.1% and 29.8%; P=.01), to be concerned about sterility (30.8% vs 8.6% and 6.1%; P=.03), not to be using contraceptives (77% vs 35.6% and 30.6%; P<.01), to want a pregnancy within 2 years (61.5% vs 25.4% and 12.2%; P<.001), and to have a sexual partner who wanted a pregnancy within 2 years (61.5% vs 13.6% and 8.2%; P<.0001).

Conclusions:  Our findings support the study hypothesis that that never-pregnant students in the increased-desire group had more sociodemographic risk factors for teen pregnancy than did students in the groups with no change or decreased desire. The results of this study may help to ally concerns about the adverse effect that the increased prevalence of gravid students in American schools might have on the childbearing attitudes of never-pregnant students.(Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149:272-275)

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