Pregnancy is the single most important reason why girls fail to complete secondary school in the Caribbean. The Women's Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF) Program was established in 1978 to enable adolescent mothers 16 years and under to return to school, and to delay second pregnancies until completion of their education.

This historical cohort study assessed the effect of the WCJF Program on the incidence of repeat pregnancies over the period 1995-1998, and on the educational attainment of program participants. A random sample (n=260) of primiparous Jamaican adolescent mothers 12-16 years who gave birth in 1994 in the parishes of Kingston & St. Andrew, St. Catherine and Manchester was selected from vital records and interviewed for this study in 1998.

The results confirmed that the WCJF Program exerts a considerable effect on the incidence of repeat pregnancy among participants: only 23.5 percent of all repeat pregnancies in the entire study population were among program participants compared with 76.5 percent among non participants. Program participants were also 1.5 times (1.005-2.347) more likely to complete high school than non participant. The benefits of program participation were greatest among residents of the Kingston Metropolitan Area from single parent, female headed households with average monthly incomes below J$10,000, who wanted to continue their education after the first live birth.

The study demonstrated that three of the five dimensions of the Health Belief Model (HBM) were predictive of repeat pregnancy among this target population. Study participants who scored high on the susceptibility scale were almost twice (RR=1.64) as likely to experience repeat pregnancies, and participants who scored high on the severity (RR=.49) and benefit (RR=.50) scales were 50 percent less likely to experience repeat pregnancies.

This is the first population based evaluation of the Women's Centre program, and also the first study to test the ability of the HBM to predict the occurrence of repeat pregnancy among Jamaican teenage mothers. The date base created from this study can be used as a prototype for the continuous monitoring of program effects in Jamaica, and the wider Caribbean where this type of program may be implemented.


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Barbara A. Anderson

Second Advisor

Naomi N. Modeste

Third Advisor

Susanne B. Montgomery

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Pregnancy in Adolescence -- Jamaica; Pregnancy Unwanted -- Jamaica; Pregnancy Outcomes -- Jamaica; Pregnancy, High-Risk -- Jamaica



Page Count

xiii; 128

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives