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Young Women's Relationships, Contraception, and Unintended Pregnancy

a PSC Research Project

Investigators:   Jennifer S. Barber, William Axinn, Mick P. Couper, Heather Gatny, Yasamin Kusunoki

Our five-year study investigates unintended pregnancies and their social context. We collect new detailed, dynamic measures of relationship context, of contraceptive use, of pregnancies, and of activities that compete with childbearing among young women. Our analyses provide alternative estimates of the prevalence of unintended pregnancy based on new, prospective measurement strategies.

Our data collection includes face-to-face interviews with 1,250 18- and 19-year-old women in one county in Michigan, along with a 30-month journal follow-up study in which women provide weekly updates on behavioral and attitudinal aspects of their relationships, contraceptive use, pregnancies, and competing activities. We also conduct semi-structured follow-up interviews with approximately 10% of the women who experience pregnancies during the study period and a control group of young women who do not. Finally, study participants complete the individual interview used for Cycle 7 of the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), allowing us to compare the weekly journal-based estimates and the national estimates of unintended pregnancy and related factors. Our analyses document the interconnections among behavioral, attitudinal, and contextual aspects of relationships, contraceptive use, activities that compete with childbearing, and unintended pregnancy. We also provide new measurement strategies that can be adapted by major national studies of unintended pregnancy and related topics.

Funding Period: 05/01/2007 to 04/30/2014

Country of Focus: USA

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