It Takes Two: Partner Effects on Unintended Pregnancy in Dyads
Brown, Emily Cheshire
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Background: Just under half of pregnancies in the United States are unintended. And unintended births are particularly high among married and cohabiting adult women. Though family planning behaviors occur in a dyadic context with potentially joint influences of men and women on contraceptive use and pregnancy, most research on pregnancy and contraceptive use is based on reports from only women. Methods: I examined the pregnancy beliefs and contraceptive values of both members of cohabiting and married adult couples to determine how these individual-level characteristics come together at the dyad-level to shape pregnancy outcomes for the couple. I performed multinomial logit structural equation modeling analyses using longitudinal data from the National Couples Survey. I included demographic covariates that have been implicated in prior research as influential for contraceptive use and unintended pregnancy. Results: The male partner's pregnancy beliefs and contraceptive values significantly predicted dyadic risk of unintended pregnancy even after accounting for female partner's responses on these variables. Non-Hispanic Black race and low socioeconomic status emerged as risk factors. Discussion: This study indicates that dyadic analyses are needed to account for male partner influences to appropriately model risk for unintended pregnancy in research. The findings of this research also highlight demographic groups that may benefit from targeted dyadic intervention.
- Doctoral Dissertations