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October 2002Vol. 3, No. 8Intimate Partner Violence Among Teen Mothers

Teen mothers are at a high risk for intimate partner violence (IPV) during the postpartum period, according to a study at a University of Texas Medical Center. Published in the April 2002 issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, Samantha Harrykissoon, M.P.H., Vaughn Rickert, Psy.D., and Constance Wiemann, Ph.D. examined the prevalence, frequency, severity, and patterns of IPV during the first 24 months of postpartum within a multiethnic cohort of adolescents.

Findings from the study reveal:

  • Prevalence of IPV was the highest at 3 months postpartum (21 percent) and the lowest at 24 months (13 percent).
  • The number of mothers who were assaulted or experienced severe IPV increased from 40 percent to 62 percent across this period.
  • Seventy-five percent of mothers reporting IPV during pregnancy also reported IPV within 24 months following delivery.
  • Seventy-eight percent of mothers who experienced IPV during the first 3 postpartum months had not reported IPV before delivery.

The study has important implications for adults who work with teen mothers and their boyfriends or husbands. As teen parenthood is assumed to be difficult, youth workers would not necessarily associate violence as the cause of the stress or other warning signs they may notice among new teen parents. The study also demonstrates the importance of asking teen parents what is happening in their lives, asking about and watching for signs of physical abuse, and being available to discuss issues other than those specific to parenthood.

Learn more about the study from the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine at

Free copies are also available from:

Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine
6621 Fannon Street, CC610.01
Houston, TX 77030-2399

You may also email Dr. Wiemann at