Understanding why teen pregnancies are more common among lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth compared to heterosexuals
Awarded 2017
Interdisciplinary Innovation (Phase 2) Grants
Brittany Charlton, ScD, MSc
Boston Children's Hospital

The goal of our interdisciplinary project is to bring together researchers from three distinct fields—epidemiology, psychology, and medicine—to illuminate the experiences of sexual minorities who have had a teen pregnancy. We began a qualitative study with sexual minority women in Phase I of this grant, during which time we secured institutional review board approval, developed an interview guide and survey, hired and trained all staff, brought on a number of qualitative research experts, and began recruitment. We will now build on this existing framework to conduct a qualitative study with sexual minority men who have been involved with a teen pregnancy and another qualitative study with healthcare providers who care for pregnant adolescents. Interview questions with sexual minority men will focus on risk factors that may have played a role in their teen pregnancy such as childhood abuse, substance use, homelessness, minority stress, and access to contraceptives. The healthcare provider interviews will address cultural humility, training, biases, and knowledge. The resulting qualitative data will be analyzed using immersion/crystallization and within- and across-case analysis. Then, we’ll use all of the qualitative results to inform a quantitative study with nearly 200,000 individuals enrolled in one of four longitudinal cohort studies based at Harvard Medical School. New data will be collected in these cohorts such as potential teen pregnancy risk factors, which will enable us to test hypotheses directly from our qualitative data and think about prevention approaches. Results from the three qualitative studies and the subsequent quantitative study will help to inform clinical care and public health campaigns. By learning what is driving the teen pregnancy risk among sexual minorities and understand their experiences with abortion, we can train healthcare providers using evidence-based curriculum and create well-informed public health campaigns.