This report explores the impact of a history of physical and/or sexual child abuse on violent behavior in pregnant youth and adolescent mothers. The sample was composed of 58 pregnant adolescents and 93 young mothers. Logistic regression analyses were used to examine prediction of violent and self-injurious behaviors from presence or absence of childhood maltreatment, substance use variables, and selected sociodemographic factors. Of the subjects, 50% reported a history of child abuse, and nearly 10% reported having made a suicide attempt within the last 12 months. Subjects with a history of abuse were nearly seven times more likely to attempt suicide than those without. Nurses are in a key position to provide comprehensive preventive and health promotion services to pregnant youth with a history of abuse. Health care should include screening to identify victims of violence, evaluation for suicidal ideation and history of attempts, and psychotherapeutic counseling.
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