Relationship Dynamics in Couples’ Birth Control Use

Selma Caal, Child Trends
Kristen Peterson, Child Trends
Lina Guzman, Child Trends

Many studies show that young women and men use contraception inconsistently. This inconsistent use can explain the high rates of unintended childbearing among young adults, in particular minorities. Using data from qualitative interviews with 15 low-income African-American couples, we examine relationship level factors associated with couples’ contraceptive use and consistency. Three general themes emerged from preliminary data analysis; (1) couples provide contrasting reports of their birth control use; (2) relationship dynamics, in particular the level of emotional connectedness perceived by each partner, plays an important role in the consistency of birth control use; and (3) ambivalent pregnancy intentions are associated with inconsistent birth control use. It is critical to understand why couples do not consistently use birth control to discover strategies that increase birth control use among the most vulnerable women at risk for unintended pregnancies.

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Presented in Session 147: Partners and Contraceptive Use