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Lois Verbrugge, Disability Experience & Measurement

Caroline Sten Hartnett photo

Are Hispanic Women Happier About Unintended Births?

Publication Abstract

Hartnett, Caroline Sten. 2012. "Are Hispanic Women Happier About Unintended Births?" Population Research and Policy Review, 31(5): 683-701.

Reducing unintended pregnancies-particularly among Hispanic and Black women, who have relatively high rates-is a key public health goal in the United States. However, descriptive literature has suggested that Hispanic women are happier about these pregnancies compared with White and Black women, which could mean that there is variation across groups in the consequences of the resulting births. The purpose of this study was to examine variations in happiness about unintended births by race-ethnicity and to assess possible explanations for these differences. Using data from the National Survey of Family Growth (N = 1,462 births) I find that Hispanic women report being happier about unintended births compared with White and Black women. Higher happiness among Hispanics was particularly pronounced among a subgroup of women: those who were foreign-born and very religious. Overall, results confirm previous findings that intention status alone is incomplete for capturing pregnancy experiences. Happiness offers complementary information that is important when making comparisons by race-ethnicity and nativity.

DOI:10.1007/s11113-012-9252-7 (Full Text)

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