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Cadernos de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1678-4464Print version ISSN 0102-311X


GONCALVES, Helen  and  GIGANTE, Denise. Work, schooling, and reproductive health: an ethno-epidemiological study of adolescent women belonging to a birth cohort. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2006, vol.22, n.7, pp.1459-1469. ISSN 1678-4464.

An ethno-epidemiological study was carried out with adolescent women who have been studied since birth. In 2001, all female adolescents from the 1982 Pelotas Birth Cohort were identified in 27% of all census tracts in Pelotas, Rio Grande do Sul State. Risk factors for childbearing during adolescence were investigated using a case-control approach. Cases (n = 420) were identified through the local live birth information system, and controls included 408 women who had not given birth by 2001. To understand social and cultural factors related to childbearing during adolescence, an ethnographic study focused on 23 young women from the case group. Work, schooling, sexuality, and reproductive health were analyzed using an ethno-epidemiological approach. Socioeconomic variables like work and schooling were strongly associated with childbearing in adolescence. An inverse linear association was observed between age at first dating and childbearing during adolescence (p < 0.001). Focusing on the contexts and social values (traditional and/or modern), pregnancy was: a positive consequence of an affective relationship with the partner; a way of exposing adolescent sexuality; and a means to achieve a certain social autonomy and other forms of social status within the age group.

Keywords : Pregnancy in Adolescence; Sexuality; Educational Status; Work.

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