CONTEXT: Unintended pregnancy is common among black and Hispanic young adults in the United States. How pregnancy intentions form and change is poorly understood, although research indicates that intentions and attitudes are dependent on partners’ views and other relationship factors, and are different by gender.
METHODS: A sample of black and Puerto Rican men and women aged 18–25 from low-income neighborhoods in two cities were surveyed in 2007–2008. Using data on 520 serious and casual sexual relationships reported by 460 respondents, generalized ordered logistic regression analysis was conducted to identify individual- and relationship-level correlates of how respondents would feel if they became involved in a pregnancy with a particular partner.
RESULTS: About one-quarter of respondents reported each of four possibilities of how they would feel about a pregnancy with a particular partner—very upset, a little upset, a little pleased and very pleased. In 45% of relationships, respondents believed that their partners would be very pleased about a pregnancy, whereas they themselves would be very pleased in only one-quarter of cases. Overall, women were less likely to feel positive about a pregnancy than were men (odds ratio, 0.3). Respondents’ positive feelings about their relationships were associated with a strong tendency toward more positive feelings about a pregnancy (2.1), as was a measure of how positive respondents thought their partners would feel (1.5–2.6). The latter association was particularly strong among women (1.7).
CONCLUSIONS: Relationship characteristics were associated with feelings about pregnancy for both genders. Future research should utilize a more comprehensive framework for conceptualizing and examining sexual relationships.
Marion Carter and Joan M. Kraft are behavioral scientists, and Kendra Hatfield-Timajchy is a health scientist—all in the Division of Reproductive Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta. Linda Hock-Long is research director, Family Planning Council of Southeast Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.