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Event Date: 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - 12:00pm

Event Location: 

758 WARF

Contact Info: 

Marty Kanarek, (608) 263-1626,; John Mullahy, (608) 265-5401,

PHS Graduate Student Seminar: Laura Gregor, MS in Population Health Student, "The Relationship Between Personal Success Indicators and Contraceptive Use: A Descriptive Analysis

Introduction: In the United States, approximately half of all births are unintended. Inconsistent contraceptive accounts for approximately 41% of unintended pregnancies, while the remainder result from nonuse (Finer and Zolna 2016). Qualitative research suggests that women of low-social advantage are less likely to use contraception not out of a lack of knowledge or access, but a lack of perceived opportunities for upward social mobility (Edin and Kefalas 2005; Musick et al 2009; Higgins 2008). This analysis aims to provide a quantitative answer to previous qualitative literature by analyzing the relationship between women’s perceptions of success and their contraceptive use.

Methods: This study utilized cross-sectional data from the Relationship Dynamics and Social Life longitudinal study. We conducted descriptive and bivariate analyses between eight variables intended to measure women’s personal perceptions of success and contraceptive use.

Results: Only one success variable, the belief that she should use birth control until ready to have children, was significantly associated with contraceptive use. There were not significant differences in responses by demographic or SES factors such as parents’ household income. Despite the lack of statistically significant findings, this analysis does offer interesting descriptive insights into women’s perceptions, values, and the social norms of this population.

Discussion: By using predictor variables not traditionally used in quantitative analyses, it is our hope that this study contributes more nuance to the literature surrounding contraception use among this demographic of women. Ultimately, more attention should be directed towards the intersection between social influences of unintended pregnancy/contraceptive use and individual influences that are most often the target of public health interventions.