Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 28, Issue 12, pp 3307–3314 | Cite as

High School Dropout: Association with Family Structure, Maternal Employment, and Health-risk Habits Among Female Mexican Adolescents

  • Francisco Vázquez-Nava
  • Eliza M. Vázquez-Rodríguez
  • Carlos F. Vázquez-RodríguezEmail author
  • Nancy V. Ortega Betancourt
Original Paper



To determine whether dropping out of high school is associated with living in a non-intact family household, having an employed mother, active smoking, alcohol use, sexual activity at an early age and pregnancy in a broad population sample of female Mexican adolescents between 17 and 19 years old.


We studied 765 adolescents from a total sample of 2034 young people who were high-school dropouts using a cross-sectional study and applying a self-administered questionnaire. The association between the independent variables and the outcome variable was determined by multivariate logistic regression analysis.


The prevalence of non-intact families was 34.8%. The percentages of active smoking and drinking alcohol were 18.3% and 52.0%, respectively. Sexual activity at an early age was reported by 59.8% of the female adolescents, and 33.5% of the participants were pregnant during adolescence. The multivariate logistic regression analysis shows that living in a household with an incomplete family, engaging in sexual activity at an early age, and being pregnant during adolescence are associated with dropping out of high school, but having an employed mother, active smoking and alcohol use are not.


Living in a non-intact family household, engaging in sexual activity at an early age and being pregnant during adolescence are associated with dropping out of high school. According to the analysis, having an employed mother appears to prevent dropping out of high school among adolescents. The results of this study have important implications for parents, educators, researchers and adolescents.


Author Contributions

F.V.N. designed and executed the study, assisted with the data analyses, and wrote the paper. E.M.V.R. collaborated on the design and assisted with the data analyses and writing of the study. C.F.V.R. analysed the data and wrote part of the results and discussion. N.V.O.B. collaborated in the writing and editing of the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical Approval

The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Medicine of Tampico, Autonomous University of Tamaulipas. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Research, Faculty of MedicineTampico Autonomous University of Tamaulipas (UAT)TampicoMexico
  2. 2.Faculty of Medicine of MinatitlánVeracruzana UniversityXalapaMexico
  3. 3.Mexican Institute of Social Security. South of Veracruz DelegationVeracruzMexico

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