Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Ike Okosun

Second Advisor

Barbara Yankey


INTRODUCTION: Early sexual debut (ESD) is known to have negative health impacts on a female adolescent’s future. There are multiple factors that can lead to ESD. Greater knowledge about ESD risks could provide robust ways to combat subsequent effects in daughters of teenage mothers, including early pregnancy.

AIMS: This study seeks to answer the following questions: (1) is being the daughter of a teenage mother a risk factor to ESD? (2) Does race/ethnicity or any other factors increase the likelihood of the daughter of a teenage mother having an ESD? (3) What are the predictor factors associated with ESD by race/ethnicity?

METHODS: National Survey of Family Growth data was used. Descriptive statistics were conducted. Univariate and multivariable analysis was conducted using logistic regression. Stepwise logistic regression method was performed to determine predictor variables of ESD by race/ethnicity.

RESULTS: Women whose mothers were teen mothers were 1.76 times as likely to experience ESD compared women whose mothers were not teen mothers. African American women are 81% more likely to experience ESD compared to non-Hispanic White women. History of smoking (AOR=2.55), alcohol use (AOR=1.79), and drug use (AOR=1.84) were each associated with increased odds of ESD. Women who were not raised by their mother were 2.54 times as likely to experience ESD compared to women who were raised by both parents.

CONCLUSION: Being the daughter of a teenage mother is a risk factor for ESD. Early sexual education for mothers and their daughters may help to reduce ESD. Future research needs to address all the multidimensional factors associated with adolescents’ sexual health.