Bridging the Gap: Fertility Timing in the United States, Effective Public Policy, and Prevention Design

Elizabeth H. Tilley, Melissa A. Barnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This paper takes an ecologically articulated approach to understanding public policy and early fertility timing prevention and proposes that early fertility timing is an adaptive response to environmental constraints such as economic and social inequality. The use of an evolutionarily and environmentally informed feminist perspective presents a better approach to understanding earlier fertility timing and designing prevention programs that address the contexts to which individuals adaptively respond by engaging in behavior that our society deems to be “risky.” This paper documents the major correlates to earlier fertility timing, poverty, and health status within context and suggests that the targets of prevention programs should not only include individual adolescent behavior but also consider their contextual circumstances. Using this knowledge, prevention strategists can design more effective early fertility timing prevention programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-100
Number of pages9
JournalSexuality Research and Social Policy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Adaptive response
  • Bioecological theory
  • Evolutionarily informed feminist perspective
  • Fertility timing
  • Health disparities
  • Life history theory
  • Sex education
  • Social inequality
  • Standpoint theory
  • Teen pregnancy prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Bridging the Gap: Fertility Timing in the United States, Effective Public Policy, and Prevention Design'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this