Young Mothers: How Many Use Cigarettes, Alcohol, and Marijuana?
Adolescents in general are a group at high risk for substance use problems. Particularly vulnerable are young mothers (those age 15 to 19).
Substance Use among Young Mothers, a recent report from SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, uses combined 2005 to 2009 data. The report focuses on substance use among young women who are mothers and living with their children.
An estimated 528,000 young women age 15 to 19 lived with at least one of their own children, and an estimated 609,000 children lived with their young mothers. Young women age 15 to 17 were less likely than their 18- or 19-year-old counterparts to be mothers (1.7 versus 9.7 percent).
Young women living below the poverty threshold were much more likely than young women living above the poverty threshold to be mothers (12.3 versus 3.2 percent).
The majority of 15- to 17-year-old mothers (71.9 percent) lived with at least one parent compared with 46.0 percent of 18- or 19-year-old mothers. An estimated 73.8 percent of those age 15 to 17 and 31.7 percent of those age 18 or 19 were enrolled in school.
Among young mothers, 35.0 percent smoked cigarettes in the past month, 30.0 percent used alcohol, and 11.7 percent used marijuana.
Cigarettes. Young mothers were more likely than young women who were not mothers to have smoked cigarettes in the past month (35.0 versus 20.7 percent) (see chart). This same pattern was found for both age groups, with 18- or 19-year-old mothers smoking at a higher rate than 15- to 17-year-old mothers (36.8 versus 28.3 percent).
Alcohol. Mothers age 15 to 17 were just as likely as their counterparts who were not mothers to have used alcohol in the past month (25.3 and 24.6 percent, respectively), while mothers age 18 or 19 were less likely than their counterparts who were not mothers to have done so (31.2 versus 46.6 percent).
Marijuana. The rate of marijuana use was higher among mothers age 15 to 17 than among women of the same age who were not mothers (17.9 versus 10.0 percent), but marijuana use was less common among mothers age 18 or 19 than among women of the same age who were not mothers (10.1 versus 15.0 percent).
Download the full report from SAMHSA’s website.
Source: SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (March 10, 2011). Figure 2. “Past-Month Cigarette Use among Women Age 15 to 19, by Mothering Status: 2005 to 2009.” Substance Use among Young Mothers. Rockville, MD.