Impact of being an adolescent mother on subsequent maternal health, parenting, and child development in Kenyan low-income and high adversity informal settlement context

Manasi Kumar, Keng Yen Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Background Women who have experienced adolescent pregnancy and early motherhood are disproportionately affected in terms of their health and parenting capabilities, as well as their offspring’s health. Guided by Stress Process and Social Determinants of Health (SDH) Frameworks, which posit that multiple sources of stressors and structural determinants of adolescent pregnancy influence adolescent mothers’ subsequent health and quality of parenting (Xavier et al 2018, McLoyd 1998, Conger et al 2010, Gipson et al 2008). These dynamics then further impact offspring’s outcomes. Using an Integrated Stress-SDH Process for Health Disparities model and we test on whether early motherhood is associated with and subsequent maternal and child health from two informal settlements in Nairobi. Methods A cross-sectional design with 394 mothers of 2–16 years old children who sought maternal and child health services at Kariobangi and Kangemi public health centers between October 2015 to April 2016 were recruited. Participating mothers were asked questions related to their adolescent pregnancy history, their current health, wellbeing, and parenting practices, and their child’s health. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was utilized to examine hypothesized mediational pathways that adolescent pregnancy history has negative influences on women’s health and parenting during adulthood, which also influence their child’s health and development. Results Our study supports that women with a history of adolescent motherhood have poor physical and mental health outcomes as adults after adjusting for demographic confounders. SEM results partially support the Stress-SDH Process model that history of adolescent pregnancy had negative consequences on women’s adulthood health, which also negatively impacted offspring’s physical and mental health. Conclusion Consistent with the Stress Process and SDH literature, we found consistent cross-cultural literature that adolescent pregnancy set the stage for, subsequent poor maternal health and child outcomes. Although history of adolescent pregnancy and motherhood was not necessarily associated with negative parenting, consistent with parenting literature, negative parenting was associated with poor child mental health. Findings suggest importance of providing integrated care that address health and parenting needs to optimize offspring’s development in instances of early motherhood.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0248836
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4 April
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Impact of being an adolescent mother on subsequent maternal health, parenting, and child development in Kenyan low-income and high adversity informal settlement context'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this