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Black-White Differences in Attitudes Related to Pregnancy

Publication Abstract

Download PDF versionBarber, Jennifer S., Jennifer Eckerman Yarger, and Heather Gatny. 2013. "Black-White Differences in Attitudes Related to Pregnancy." PSC Research Report No. 13-787. April 2013.

In this paper we examine differences in attitudes related to pregnancy among black and white women at the beginning of the transition to adulthood. Newly available data from the Relationship Dynamics and Social Life (RDSL) study include a wide set of indicators of attitudes related to pregnancy. We compare these attitudes among black and white women, and investigate the extent to which differences are net of, explained by, or independent of family background, childhood socioeconomic status, adolescent experiences related to pregnancy, and current socioeconomic status. We find substantial black-white differences in attitudes toward sex, contraception, and pregnancy. Although African-American women are less desirous of sex and more negative toward sex in general than are white women, they are less willing to refuse sex with a partner if it would make him angry. And, although African-American women view contraception as inexpensive and easy to access relative to white women, they are more negative toward its use and its moral implications. Finally, although African-American women are more negative toward early and/or premarital pregnancy for women in general, they are less negative about the potential consequences for themselves. In spite of these differences, black women's desires to achieve and to prevent pregnancy are similar to white women's desires. Many of these black-white differences in attitudes persist even net of differences in family background, SES, and pregnancy-related experiences during adolescence.

Country of focus: United States.

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