New study explores gang involvement, exposure to violence, and Latina reproductive health outcomes
Recently published in the Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, “Exposure to Partner, Family, and Community Violence: Gang-Affiliated Latina Women and Risk of Unintended Pregnancy” examines the relationship “between gang involvement and reproductive health, and the pathways through which childhood, family, and relationship violence exposure may lead to unintended pregnancy”.
The authors studied 20 young females with known gang histories of gang-involvement, recruited through a gang-intervention program in Los Angeles, CA. The article provides detailed interview transcriptions that provide insight into the 20 young women’s exposure to violence, pregnancy experiences, access to knowledge about reproductive health, male partner pregnancy intentions and sexual coercion, male partner physical and sexual violence, exposure to interparental violence and child abuse, as well as gangs and sexual violence.
The authors suggest:
“…these stories offer some implications for practice and policy. These findings may guide targeted pregnancy prevention efforts among this highly vulnerable and hard-to-reach population of urban gang-affiliated Latinas as well as encourage the integration of sexual violence prevention and reproductive health promotion within gang violence intervention programs. The clustering of partner, family, and community violence with young women’s pregnancy suggests that programs that explicitly address the connections between violence exposure and pregnancy prevention are needed. Universal pregnancy prevention is unlikely to address the unique challenges facing youth in urban settings with high rates of gang violence” (Miller et al. 2011)
Click here for a link to the abstract and journal article.
Exposure to Partner, Family, and Community Violence: Gang-Affiliated Latina Women and Risk of Unintended Pregnancy.
Elizabeth Miller, Rebecca Levenson, Lili Herrera, Laura Kurek, Marney Stofflet, Leni Marin
Division of Adolescent Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA, [email protected].
While teen pregnancy rates appear to be declining in the USA overall, the rate of decline among young Latinas has been less than other ethnic groups. Among the myriad factors associated with elevated pregnancy rates, for Latina girls living in the inner city, exposure to gang and community violence may be a critical context for increased pregnancy risk. This study explores the relationship between gang involvement and reproductive health, and the pathways through which childhood, family, and relationship violence exposure may lead to unintended pregnancy. Interviews of 20 young adult Latinas with known gang involvement in Los Angeles County were audiotaped, transcribed, and coded for key themes related to violence exposure and reproductive health. Limited access to reproductive health care compounded by male partner sexual and pregnancy coercion, as well as physical and sexual violence, emerged in the interviews. Exposures to interparental domestic violence, childhood physical and sexual abuse, and gang violence were prominent and closely associated with unhealthy and abusive intimate relationships. Adverse childhood experiences and exposure to partner, family, and community violence impact the reproductive lives and choices of young Latina women in gangs. These findings may guide targeted pregnancy prevention efforts among urban gang-affiliated Latinas as well as encourage the integration of sexual violence prevention and reproductive health promotion within gang violence intervention programs.