Heterogamy and effective contraceptive use among married and cohabiting women

Josephine Jacobs, Veterans Health Administration
Maria A. Stanfors, Lund University

Heterogamy is linked to less effective contraceptive use amongst adolescents. It is not known whether this holds for married/cohabiting women, though the couple context of dating partners differs from stable relationships with respect to communication and power. We explore the association between heterogamy and women’s choice of contraception by analyzing partnered women from the 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth. Multinomial logistic regressions are used to determine whether educational, age or racial heterogamy is associated with the use of effective contraceptive methods. Women aged 20-34 in heterogamous relationships are less likely to use any type of contraception relative to no method. The more dimensions on which a couple differs, the less likely they are to use effective contraception. There were no consistent associations between heterogamy and contraceptive choice among women aged 35-45. Despite the more permanent nature of these relationships, differences between partners may factor into the contraceptive decision-making process.

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Presented in Session 96: Gender issues in sexual and reproductive health