Jennifer Barber (Survey Research Center,Population Studies Center and Department of Sociology), Yasamin Kusunoki (Population Studies Center), Heather Gatny (Survey Research Center and Population Studies Center)
11/18/2008, at noon in room 6050 ISR-Thompson.
We are conducting new research to investigate unintended pregnancies during the transition to adulthood. Investigation of these issues requires detailed, dynamic measures of relationships (including sexual behavior), contraceptive use, activities that compete with childbearing (including school and work), and community context. It also requires detailed, dynamic measures of beliefs, expectations, and willingness to engage in those and related behaviors. Available data resources for studying unintended pregnancy suffer from fundamental weaknesses, particularly retrospective reporting error. We have designed a new and innovative approach, a weekly online journal-based survey, to collect prospective measures to study these events. This approach will provide new estimates of the prevalence of unintended pregnancy among young adults, new insights into the contexts producing unintended pregnancies among young adults, and new measurement strategies. Specifically, we are conducting a large-scale mixed-method data collection project with a cohort of approximately 1,000 18- and 19-year old women in a representative county in Michigan. After a 60-minute in-person baseline interview, the women are enrolled in a weekly journal-based survey for 2.5 years. The journal consists of a 5-minute web- or phone-based interview focused on the past week’s experiences with contraceptive use and other behaviors, as well as prospective pregnancy intentions. We have so far enrolled over 500 young women in the study, and have experienced excellent baseline response rates and journal participation. This presentation describes the study, discusses its design strengths and weaknesses, and evaluates weekly participation in the journal portion of the study, with a focus on the factors that contribute to continued participation and timeliness of journal completion.