Investigating the Life Situations and Development of Teenage Mothers' Children: Evidence from the ECLS-B

Stefanie Mollborn, Jeff A. Dennis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort of 2001 represents a unique opportunity to examine the life situations of teenage mothers and their young children in a nationally representative sample. Descriptive and multivariate regression analyses compare teenage mothers and their children to older mothers and their children, examine variation among teenage mothers and their children, and estimate associations between household structures and mothers' work and school involvement at age 2 and children's health and development at age 41/2. Results show that compared to children of mothers who never gave birth as teens, teenage mothers' children experience strong socioeconomic disadvantages, and their home environments have some greater risks. Their mothers' parenting behaviors are not rated as favorably, and many measures of their health and development at age 2 are compromised. However, many of these parenting and developmental disparities are explained by teenage mothers' low levels of current socioeconomic status. At least in some domains, teenage mothers' involvement in school and paid work is associated with more favorable child outcomes at age 41/2, and living with a single mother and other adults predicts more negative outcomes. Many everyday experiences that are associated with disadvantaged outcomes are quite prevalent among teenage mothers' children, identifying useful targets for policy interventions. These findings suggest that effective social programs implemented in early life may have an opportunity to reduce the early developmental disadvantages of many children of teenage mothers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-66
Number of pages36
JournalPopulation Research and Policy Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort
  • Early childhood
  • Maternal age
  • Teen childbearing
  • Teenage mothers


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