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Relationship Characteristics Predicting Unintended Pregnancies Reported in an Online Weekly Survey: Preliminary Results

Publication Abstract

Download PDF versionBarber, Jennifer S., Yasamin Kusunoki, Heather Gatny, and Jennifer Eckerman Yarger. 2010. "Relationship Characteristics Predicting Unintended Pregnancies Reported in an Online Weekly Survey: Preliminary Results." PSC Research Report No. 10-702. May 2010.

This paper uses longitudinal data from a weekly mixed-mode (online or phone) survey spanning 2.5 years, or 130 weeks. We use these data to examine the types of relationships that produce pregnancies among 1000 18-21 year old women. We draw from the literature predicting that serious relationships, as well as unstable relationships, lead to pregnancy. We examine dynamic, time-varying measures of seriousness and instability. Our results are preliminary at this time, but our analyses suggest that both seriousness and instability are important. Time-intensive and exclusive relationships are particularly likely to produce pregnancies. Further, this effect does not appear to be due to the types of young women who enter these relationships – current involvement in a time-intensive or exclusive relationship increases pregnancy risk net of prior experiences with these types of relationships. These types of relationships appear to mainly increase pregnancy risk via increased sexual activity, and less so via contraceptive behavior. Finally, changes and instability in living arrangements are associated with increased risk of pregnancy, as well. We plan to continue investigating these effects through refined measurement and modeling.

Country of focus: United States.

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