Guyonne Kalb - Teenage Mothers' Health over the Life Course

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Title: Teenage Mothers' Health over the Life Course

Abstract: This paper examines the health disparity between teenage mothers and other women over the life course. We follow (former) teenage mothers and other women for up to 15 years and examine physical and mental health in aggregate and separately over eight domains –general health, physical functioning, role of physical health in limitations on work or other regular activities, bodily pain, mental health, vitality, social functioning, and role of mental health/emotional problems in limitations on work or other regular activities. Poorer health outcomes on all domains and across the whole life course are observed for teenage mothers compared to other women of the same age, even before childbirth, suggesting that teenage mothers are already at a disadvantage before having children. Outcomes on each domain, and in aggregate are analysed using random and fixed effects panel regression to assess the role of teenage motherhood in these outcomes across the life course. The health disparity between teenage mothers and other women prior to first birth, and within-person variation in health outcomes over time are used to allow for pre-existing disadvantage and differences between age cohorts of women. Subsequently, the role of potential mediators, including health behaviours, family circumstances, education, social support and economic factors, in the difference in health outcomes for teenage mothers is investigated.

Presenter: Guyonne Kalb, Melbourne Institute

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