Child Indicators Research

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 389–402 | Cite as

Outcomes for Children and Families Following Unplanned Pregnancy: Findings from a Longitudinal Birth Cohort

  • Joseph M. BodenEmail author
  • David M. Fergusson
  • L. John Horwood


This study examined the associations between a measure of unplanned pregnancy and outcomes related to family socioeconomic conditions, family functioning, parent–child relationships, and child educational and behavior outcomes in a New Zealand birth cohort studied to 18 years. Associations were modelled between a measure of pregnancy planning (planned; unplanned) and 12 outcomes using multiple regression, negative binomial regression and logistic regression. The associations were adjusted for a series of factors related to parental characteristics, birth family characteristics, and maternal family background. After adjustment for sources of confounding, there were statistically significant (p < 0.05) and marginally significant (p < 0.10) associations between pregnancy planning and: family socioeconomic outcomes; family functioning; and measures of parent–child relationship quality. Estimates of Cohen’s d ranged from 0.12 to 0.38, with a median value of 0.16, suggesting relatively weak associations after adjustment. Adjustment for confounding reduced the magnitude of the association between pregnancy planning and achieving secondary school qualifications, and between pregnancy planning and childhood conduct problems to statistical non-significance. The results suggest that even after accounting for potential sources of confounding, unplanned pregnancy was related to modest increases in the risk of adverse family socioeconomic outcomes, family dysfunction, and poorer parent–child relationship outcomes. Programs designed to reduce the incidence of unplanned pregnancy may help to reduce risks in these areas for families and children.


Unplanned pregnancy Family socioeconomic outcomes Family functioning Parent–child relationships Child behavior Education Longitudinal study 

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph M. Boden
    • 1
    Email author
  • David M. Fergusson
    • 1
  • L. John Horwood
    • 1
  1. 1.Christchurch Health and Development Study, Department of Psychological MedicineUniversity of Otago, Christchurch School of Medicine and Health SciencesChristchurchNew Zealand

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