Contraceptive Method Choice among Youth in the United States: The Importance of Relationship Context

A PSC Brown Bag Seminar

Yasamin Kusunoki

Monday, 11-02-2009.   ARCHIVED EVENT

Location: 6050 ISR Thompson St

Involvement in romantic and sexual relationships increases during adolescence and young adulthood, as does the significance of these relationships. Relationship experiences during this period are influential for reproductive health outcomes and set the stage for future family formation choices and behaviors. To examine the factors that are associated with contraceptive method choice among young adults, this study uses data from retrospective sexual relationship histories available in the third wave (2001-2002) of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Multilevel analysis is conducted to investigate associations between individual- and relationship-level characteristics and relationship-specific type of contraceptive method used at last sexual intercourse. Results indicate that, for a given individual, contraceptive method choice varies across relationships as a function of relationship commitment and couple heterogamy, even after accounting for individual characteristics and prior relationship experiences. The results also confirm the importance of individual characteristics and indicate that early perceptions of risk and severity of negative reproductive health outcomes and contraceptive self-efficacy have enduring effects on later contraceptive method choices. Furthermore, the patterns of associations between contraceptive use and both relationship and individual characteristics differ depending on the type of method examined.

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