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Journal Article

Citation

Wahi A, Zaleski KL, Lampe J, Bevan-Hively P, Koski A. Soc. Work Public Health 2019; ePub(ePub): 1-13.

Affiliation

Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, Institute for Health and Social Policy , McGill University , Montreal , Canada.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2019, Informa - Taylor and Francis Group)

DOI

10.1080/19371918.2019.1575312

PMID

30747055

Abstract

Despite international and domestic calls to end child marriage, 48 U.S. states permit the marriage of minors younger than age 18 as of August 2018. In developing nations, child marriage is associated with a wide range of adverse economic, health, and mental health outcomes, yet little research has been done to understand its effects on developed nations such as the United States. This study is the first to interview adults who were married as children in the United States, to investigate the reasons why the marriages occurred, and qualitatively understand the experiences of married American children. 21 participants (20 females and 1 male) self-selected into this study to complete an online questionnaire and be interviewed by phone. Participants were married between ages 13 and 17. Most participants (n = 18) reported physical, sexual, financial, or emotional abuse during their marriage as well as unwanted and/or unplanned pregnancies. This study shows some important social justice issues related to consent and the qualitative differences inherent in deciding to marry during childhood. Notably, this study did not find that pregnancy was the reason most participants married as minors, as some policy debates across the U.S. report.


Language: en

Keywords

Child marriage; child welfare; domestic violence; early marriage; forced marriage

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