Race-Ethnic Differences in Sexual Health Knowledge

Karen B. Guzzo, Bowling Green State University

We examine whether minorities have lower sexual literacy, using a unique new dataset of unmarried young adults aged 18-29, the 2009 Survey of Unmarried Young Adults’ Contraceptive Knowledge and Practices, to examine a number of beliefs regarding sexual behavior, fatalism regarding fertility, and contraceptive side effects. At the bivariate level, foreign-born Hispanics hold more erroneous beliefs about the risk of pregnancy than other groups, whereas non-Hispanic blacks are more likely to believe in contraceptive side effects than non-Hispanic whites. Both foreign-born Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks are more likely to hold a fatalistic view towards birth control. Race-ethnic differences are largely attenuated in multivariate models, with self-reported infertility a major mediator. However, non-Hispanic blacks remain more likely than non-Hispanic whites to believe there is a high chance of serious health consequences such as cancer from hormonal contraceptives, even controlling for sources of health information, sexual and fertility experiences, and sociodemographic characteristics.

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Presented in Session 89: Disparities in Reproductive Health and Fertility