A better understanding of effective contraceptive use among Latinos is needed to reduce their high rate of unintended pregnancy. Most research has focused on urban Latinas and has overlooked the relationship context of effective contraceptive use.
Interviews were conducted among a sample of 450 Latino women and men aged 18–25 in sexual relationships, who were recruited from community sites in four rural Oregon counties in 2006. Bivariate and multinomial logistic regression analyses were used to examine the associations between effective contraceptive use and -individual, cultural and relationship characteristics.
Half of participants reported effective contraceptive use in their primary relationships: Thirty-six percent consistently used a female method, and 15% consistently used condoms. Acculturation and confidence in one’s -ability to practice contraception with a primary partner were associated with female method use rather than no effective use (risk ratios, 0.7 and 1.7, respectively). Participation in sexual decision making was positively associated with condom use rather than no effective method use (2.2) or female method use (1.9); partner involvement in birth control was positively associated with condom use rather than female method use (1.8).
Variations in effective contraceptive use among nonurban Latinos appear related to relationship characteristics and dynamics. Contraceptive counseling and unintended pregnancy prevention programs that are tailored to reflect relationship contexts and to include male partners where appropriate could improve the quality and cultural relevance of services among nonurban Latinos.
Jocelyn T. Warren is research associate and postdoctoral fellow. S. Marie Harvey is professor and chair. Marit L. Bovbjerg is faculty research assistant—all in the Department of Public Health, Oregon State University, Corvallis.