Nursing ETDs

Publication Date



Teen pregnancy in Hispanic youth is a poorly understood phenomenon, thought to have numerous and overlapping sociocultural influences. Although Hispanics have had the highest teen pregnancy rates in the United States since 1995 and pregnancy rates that have declined much more slowly when compared to every other ethnic group, there is limited literature about Hispanic youth whose families are long-term residents of the United States and the factors that influence the decision-making processes and sexual behaviors of this population. The purpose of this study was to explore and describe the attitudes and behaviors related to teen pregnancy and parenting in Hispanic female teens from long-term families in northern New Mexico (NNM) (those with at least three generations of familial residence and termed Long-Term Hispanics [LTH]), whose primary language was English, and who have experienced pregnancy and motherhood in the 12 months prior to participation. A focused ethnographic design was used. The study was conducted in two counties of northern New Mexico known to have high rates of teen pregnancy and where the population is majority Hispanic with long-term residency in the areas. Data were collected using interviews with 10 adolescent LTH mothers (15-17 years old), 10 adults who work with adolescent mothers, and participant observation. Data were analyzed inductively through the process of Immersion and Crystallization, resulting in themes and sub-themes that captured the essence of the issue under study and which were contextualized with the spoken and observed experiences of those studied. Key findings of this study include themes that reveal the chaos and instability which characterized the homes of youth, low levels of communication related to reproductive issues in homes and schools, disappointment expressed by families and the community in response to teen pregnancy, and the role transitions/career choices teens experience when becoming mothers. The results of this study will aid in increasing the knowledge base related to long-term Hispanic youth and the many sociocultural factors affecting their sexual decisions and behaviors.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

College of Nursing

First Committee Member (Chair)

Mendelson, Cindy

Second Committee Member

Lobo, Marie

Third Committee Member

Clark, Lauren


Sigma Theta Tau, International Honor Society of Nursing


teen, pregnancy, parenting, Hispanic, New Mexico, Attitudes, Behaviors



Document Type