Understanding young women’s contraceptive and pregnancy prevention behaviors is important for helping women and their partners control if and when they have children. Prior research on associations between patterns of sexual activity and contraceptive behaviors is limited. We assessed the influence of recent sexual activity on discontinuation and selection of specific contraceptive methods. We used weekly data from the Relationship Dynamics and Social Life (RDSL) study, a longitudinal 2.5-year population-based project that sampled woman ages 18 and 19 (N = 1,003) in one Michigan county. We estimated logistic and multinomial regression models that accounted for clustering of weekly observations within partnerships and women. Weekly discontinuation of longer-acting methods declined with increasing sexual activity in the past month, as did discontinuation of shorter-acting hormonal methods. Sexual activity was associated with decreased selection of condoms relative to other methods. Future research into life events that lead to changes in the frequency of sexual activity may provide insight into times when women are at risk of contraceptive discontinuation. These findings underscore the importance of anticipatory guidance in contraceptive counseling so that when women change their contraceptive behavior they are equipped in advance with resources to make safe transitions between methods.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Gender Studies
- Sociology and Political Science
- History and Philosophy of Science