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Characterizing Young Women’s Relationship Experiences

a PSC Small Fund Research Project

Investigator:   Yasamin Kusunoki

The work to be conducted in the proposed study is part of a larger ongoing panel study on which I have been an Investigator throughout my postdoctoral fellowship, the “Relationship Dynamics and Social Life” (RDSL) study (PI: Jennifer Barber). The overarching goal of the RDSL study is to investigate the processes leading to unintended pregnancy among young women during the transition to adulthood. A critical first step in such an investigation is a comprehensive examination of young women’s romantic and sexual relationships, which is the aim of the proposed study. Because we recognize that young people’s relationships are complex and that they may change rapidly, we included frequent (weekly) measurement of numerous features of romantic and sexual relationships in the RDSL study. While this has provided us with extremely rich data, it has also revealed substantial variation within and across relationships that has been difficult to interpret in a meaningful way. The main objective of the proposed study is to uncover common profiles and pathways within and across young women’s relationships through the use of two data reduction techniques, sequence analysis and latent class analysis. The findings will be written up in a paper and will be used in an upcoming proposal to expand the aims of the RDSL study. In addition, we intend to use the measures that I develop as independent variables in several papers investigating contraceptive use and the risk of unintended pregnancy.

Funding Period: 02/01/2010 to 06/30/2011

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