Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Public Health


John Nemecek


Teenage pregnancy is disproportionate between African American and Caucasian females. This disproportion is notable because African American teenagers are 3 times more likely to become pregnant than their Caucasian counterparts are. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a relationship exists among major life events, sexual behaviors, and resultant teenage pregnancy among African American females in the United States. The theoretical framework for this study was social learning theory. Three key research questions focused on relationships among (a) major life events and initial sexual behavior, (b) ethnicity, and (c) teenage pregnancy. Independent variables were life event and ethnicity, and dependent variables were teenage pregnancy and initial sexual behavior. The population sample included a total of 12,284 data observations of African American and Caucasian females. Hypotheses were tested using logistic regression and independent sample t tests. The study used public domain data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Survey of Family Growth. Study results indicated that Research Question (RQ) 1 confirmed that life events are a statistically significant predictor of teen pregnancy. RQ2 confirmed that no significant relationship exists between Caucasian and African American adolescent females and the existence of teen pregnancy. RQ3 confirmed significant mean differences in the age of first sexual intercourse between Caucasians and African Americans. This study may contribute to positive social change by educating and empowering teenage African American women about teen pregnancy, enhancing their social competence, and potentially preventing unwanted pregnancy.