Racial, Socioeconomic, and Religious Influences on School-Level Teen Pregnancy Norms and Behaviors

Jason D. Boardman, University of Colorado at Boulder
Benjamin Domingue, University of Colorado at Boulder
Stefanie F. Mollborn, University of Colorado at Boulder

We used the school-based design of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to measure normative climates regarding teen pregnancy across 75 high schools in the United States. School-level norm strength and norm dissensus were strongly (r = -0.65) and moderately (r = 0.34) associated with pregnancy prevalence within schools, respectively. Normative climate accounted for half of the observed racial differences in school pregnancy prevalence, but norms were a stronger predictor than racial composition. As hypothesized, schools with a stronger average norm against teen pregnancy and high consensus about the norm had the lowest prevalence of teen pregnancy. Our results highlight the importance of considering the local school environment when designing policies to reduce the likelihood of teen pregnancy among students.

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Presented in Session 117: Fertility Timing