Zito, Rena Cornell (2016). Teenage motherhood and intimate partner victimization risk: A counter-factual analysis. Annual Meeting of the American Society of Criminology.
New Orleans, LA.
Previous research documents the influence of teenage motherhood on mothers’ diminished risk orientation, yet few studies examine the impact of early childbearing on actual risk exposure, including exposure to violent romantic relationships. Several hypotheses are explored, including a heightened risk hypothesis suggesting that shared biological children, resource dependence, and stress put teenage mothers at increased risk of exposure to violent relationships, as well as an alternative protection hypothesis suggesting that children create a buffer against violent exposure by altering mothers’ risk orientations and increasing the costs of risky partnerships. These hypotheses are explored with propensity score analysis using a nearest-neighbor matching technique to assess the causal effect of teenage motherhood on mothers’ intimate partner victimization with data from the first and third waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (n = 10,459). Preliminary results support the heightened risk hypothesis, with teenage mothers reporting substantially greater threats of violence from romantic partners, physical victimization, and sexual victimization than matched women who did not become teenage mothers. These results reveal the limited extent to which altered risk orientation translates into decreased risk exposure, suggesting that the structural and interpersonal challenges faced by teenage mothers render risk orientation irrelevant.
Annual Meeting of the American Society of Criminology
Zito, Rena Cornell
City of Publication
New Orleans, LA