Girls from broken homes likely to be young mothers

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

LONDON - The stress of being raised in a broken home pushes girls into having babies earlier in life, a study shows.

Scientists say that girls who live apart from their mothers in the first few years of life start their families two years earlier, on an average, than those from stable backgrounds.

And young girls who live apart from their fathers - or whose dads have little to do with their upbringing - start their families a year earlier, according to the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

They are also more likely to get pregnant earlier if they were breastfed for just a short period, or if they moved house several times as children, reports the Daily Mail.

The findings add to the evidence that family break-ups, insecurity and stress in the first few years of life have a long-lasting impact on children.

Psychologist Daniel Nettle, who led the study at Newcastle University, UK, said: “The most interesting finding is that where a girl was separated from her mother for six to 24 months in the first five years of life, earlier pregnancies was the result.”

The psychologists looked at the records of 4,553 women in an ongoing study of those born during the same week in March 1958.

They looked at a host of lifestyle factors that could have influenced the upbringing of the women who had become pregnant by the age of 33.

Nettle and colleagues identified around 500 women who had been separated from their mothers when they were toddlers for at least six months.

Women who had never been separated from their mothers began their own families at the age of 24, on an average. But those who had been separated for six to 24 months had their babies aged around 22, according to the study.

Filed under: Medicine, World

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