Ambivalence towards Pregnancy: Is It a Singular or Multifaceted Concept?

Sam Hyun Yoo, Arizona State University

Pregnancy ambivalence connotes either a neutral attitude toward pregnancy or having conflicting attitudes. Previous research has focused on ambivalence as a neutral attitude, while conflicted ambivalence is less well understood. Using data from a nationally representative survey of unmarried young adults, we explore the characteristics associated with ambivalence and examine whether ambivalence is associated with inconsistent use of contraceptives. Based on two measures of attitudes toward becoming pregnant, we formed a categorical ambivalence measure considering both the presence and direction of conflicting attitudes: negative consistency, positive ambivalence, negative ambivalence, and positive consistency. Women with negative ambivalence were strongly less likely to use contraceptives consistently than those with negative consistency. In contrast, women with positive ambivalence do not differ from the majority of young women who want to avoid pregnancy. For males, ambivalence does not predict consistent use of contraceptives. This study demonstrates that ambivalence toward pregnancy is a multifaceted concept.

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Presented in Session 112: Contraceptive Use in the United States