Behavioral and Community Correlates of Adolescent Pregnancy and Chlamydia Rates in Rural Counties in Minnesota

Katy B. Kozhimannil, Eva Enns, Cori Blauer-Peterson, Jill Farris, Judith Kahn, Shalini Kulasingam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Identifying co-occurring community risk factors, specific to rural communities, may suggest new strategies and partnerships for addressing sexual health issues among rural youth. We conducted an ecological analysis to identify the county-level correlates of pregnancy and chlamydia rates among adolescents in rural (nonmetropolitan) counties in Minnesota. Pregnancy and chlamydia infection rates among 15–19 year-old females were compared across Minnesota’s 87 counties, stratified by rural/urban designations. Regression models for rural counties (n = 66) in Minnesota were developed based on publicly available, county-level information on behaviors and risk exposures to identify associations with teen pregnancy and chlamydia rates in rural settings. Adolescent pregnancy rates were higher in rural counties than in urban counties. Among rural counties, factors independently associated with elevated county-level rates of teen pregnancy included inconsistent contraceptive use by 12th-grade males, fewer 12th graders reporting feeling safe in their neighborhoods, more 9th graders reporting feeling overweight, fewer 12th graders reporting 30 min of physical activity daily, high county rates of single parenthood, and higher age-adjusted mortality (P < .05 for all associations). Factors associated with higher county level rates of chlamydia among rural counties were inconsistent condom use reported by 12th-grade males, more 12th graders reporting feeling overweight, and more 12th graders skipping school in the past month because they felt unsafe. This ecologic analysis suggests that programmatic approaches focusing on behavior change among male adolescents, self-esteem, and community health and safety may be complementary to interventions addressing teen sexual health in rural areas; such approaches warrant further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)493-500
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Community Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Adolescent health
  • Chlamydia
  • Rural health
  • Sexual health
  • Teen pregnancy

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