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The Relationship Between Dating Conflict and Pregnancy: Preliminary Results

Publication Abstract

Download PDF versionBarber, Jennifer S., Yasamin Kusunoki, Heather Gatny, and Jamie Budnick. 2010. "The Relationship Between Dating Conflict and Pregnancy: Preliminary Results." PSC Research Report No. 10-720. October 2010.

In this paper we investigate the role of dating conflict in early pregnancy. Using data from a weekly journal-based study, we explore conflict at three levels among a sample of 1,003 young women. First, we examine current conflict within a specific relationship at the approximate time the pregnancy occurred. Being in a relationship that includes arguing and fighting and/or unequal decision-making is associated with early pregnancy net of socioeconomic characteristics and prior experiences related to pregnancy that are highly predictive of pregnancy. Second, we examine history of conflict with the current partner. A history of arguing and fighting, swearing, threats/violence, and unequal decision-making with the current partner is associated with early pregnancy. Third, we examine young women’s history of conflict with any partner. A history of arguing and fighting, swearing, threats/violence, and unequal decision-making with any partner is also associated with early pregnancy. We also confirm that the association between conflict and pregnancy is true regardless of a three or more year age difference between the partners. These results suggest that, the tendency to enter conflictual relationships, conflictual relationships themselves, and current experiences with conflict are all associated with increased risk of early pregnancy.

Country of focus: United States.

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