Children Raising Children: A Qualitative Study Of The Social Determinants Of Adolescent Pregnancy In Rural Ecuador
Iván Palacios, Universidad San Francisco de Quito
According to Ecuador’s most recent census, 1/5 of pregnancies are from adolescent mothers — elevating rates of poverty, maternal and child mortality, and birth complications. Hence, our research question: how do social determinants of health (SDOH) cause adolescent pregnancy in rural Ecuador?
Our research team analyzed 3 focus groups composed of 5-7 adolescent (14-21 years old) mothers who had recently (within two years) given birth in El Quinche, Lumbisi, and Pifo. In depth interviews with 10 key informants (health officials, providers, and policy-makers) were also organized to explore perceptions regarding interventions and causes of adolescent pregnancy. Our team interviewed until reaching saturation of information, validating collected data through triangulation. We applied grounded theory for analysis via open, axial, and selective coding using NVivo software.
Our data revealed that the root SDOH causing adolescent pregnancy includes compromised sexual education, shame in discussing the topic, and troubled households. Therefore, we recommend that Ecuador focus on improving the quality of sexual education in schools, creating a positive sexual environment, and encouraging female empowerment. Ultimately, gaining a better understanding of the causes of adolescent pregnancy can inform the formulation of more effective interventions in Ecuador and beyond.The project described was supported in whole or in part by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health under award number T37MD008659. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health