Inattention and Risk Factors for Unplanned Pregnancy

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Aspects of ADHD, such as inattention, may be predictive of unplanned pregnancy. An unplanned pregnancy can have negative effects on both maternal and child health. Women surprised by pregnancy may not be physically, emotionally, or financially capable of caring for a child and may postpone or neglect prenatal care.In 2006, approximately 49% of pregnancies were unplanned in the United States. Furthermore, in Tennessee, the percentage was even higher with 56% of pregnancies being unintended. Maternal Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) has been linked to decreased female contraceptive use and to increased risky sexual behavior. Failure to use contraception significantly increases the risk of unplanned pregnancy. This study examined inattention (a characteristic known to be elevated in individuals diagnosed with ADHD) and risk factors (i.e., marital status, education, depression) associated with unplanned pregnancy in Appalachian women. Information was collected from pregnant women recruited from Southern Appalachia as part of the Tennessee Intervention for Pregnant Smokers Program. As part of the larger study, women completed detailed research interviews upon entry into prenatal care. A total of 457 pregnant women had responses on the measures of interest in the current investigation. Logistic regression was performed to assess the ability of Inattention (determined by the Current Symptoms Scale) to predict the probability of a woman experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. The full logistic regression model containing all predictors was statistically significant Χ2 (7, N=457) = 92.35, p <.001 indicating that the predictors as a set reliably distinguished between those women who did, and did not, have an unplanned pregnancy. Inattention had an Adjusted Odds Ratio of 1.76, CI (1.09, 2.86) p =.02 indicating that controlling for the other variables in the model, those women who scored high on the Inattention measure were significantly more likely to experience an unplanned pregnancy. This model correctly classified 76.8% of participants. Additionally, consistent with previous research findings, women who were unmarried and had lower levels of education were also significantly more likely to have an unintended pregnancy. Furthermore, women who reported higher levels of depressive symptoms were significantly more likely toexperience an unplanned pregnancy. Ages and at-risk alcohol use (TACE) were also examined in this study but did not significantly contribute to the model. These results confirm that known risk factors were also found in this population. This study found that inattention predicted unplanned pregnancy. Because inattention is one aspect of ADHD, this could suggest that women diagnosed with ADHD would be more likely than others to experience an unplanned pregnancy. Identifying risk factors can assist health practitioners to target women who are at risk for unplanned pregnancy for purposeful discussion on contraceptive options.


Johnson City, TN

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