Relationship Dynamics and Contraceptive Use Reported in an Online Weekly Survey: Preliminary Results
This paper examines the role of young women’s relationship experiences on their contraceptive behaviors. I use longitudinal data from a weekly mixed-mode (online or phone) journal-based survey spanning two and half years. I investigate the effects of time-varying measures that capture the intensity and instability of relationship experiences on imperfect contraceptive use among a sample of almost 1000 18-21 year old women. I also explore reported reasons for imperfect use among the imperfect users. The results are preliminary as we are still in the midst of data collection but suggest that both the intensity (e.g., cohabitation, spending a lot of time together, exclusivity) and instability (e.g., concurrency, conflict, and partner transitions, such as getting back together with a previous partner) of young women’s relationship experiences, increase the likelihood of imperfect contraceptive use. In addition, different relationship experiences are associated with different reported reasons for imperfect use. For instance, partner transitions, such as getting back together with a previous partner, are associated with a greater likelihood of reporting “no method available,” being engaged or cohabiting is associated with a greater likelihood of reporting “not trying to avoid pregnancy,” and conflict is associated with a greater likelihood of reporting “partner did not want to use a method”. We plan to continue investigating the effects of young women’s relationship experiences on imperfect contraceptive use and reasons for imperfect use through refined measurement and modeling.
Country of focus: United States of America.