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Does It Matter How you Ask? Question Wording and Males' Reporting of Contraceptive Use at Last Sex

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Brauner-Otto, Sarah, Jennifer Eckerman Yarger, and Joyce Abma. 2012. "Does It Matter How you Ask? Question Wording and Males' Reporting of Contraceptive Use at Last Sex." Social Science Research, (April).

This paper reports results from a unique experiment conducted in the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) to gauge the effect of question format on men's reports of contraceptive use at last sexual intercourse. Respondents received separate questions about their own and their partners' contraceptive use or one combined question about either partner's contraceptive use. We examine whether receiving separate questions, as opposed to one combined question, is related to higher reports of using any contraceptive method, specific methods, female methods in addition to male methods, and the number of methods reported. We find that reports of any contraceptive use at last sex and use of the most common methods, condoms and the pill, were stable across question formats. However, we find significantly higher reports of withdrawal, combining male and female methods, and multiple method use among men who received the separate-question format. We also find that characteristics of the sexual experience in question condition the effect of question format on men's reports.


DOI:10.1016/j.ssresearch.2012.04.004 (Full Text)

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