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Pregnancy attitudes and contraceptive use among young adults with histories of foster care

NCJ Number
Children and Youth Services Review Volume: 284 Issue: 94 Dated: 2018 Pages: 289
Date Published
6 pages
This study examined pregnancy attitudes and contraceptive use among young adults with histories of foster care.

A total of 209 female and male young adults, aged 18-22, with histories of foster care were interviewed about their intentions and feelings towards pregnancy. Respondents were then categorized as having pro-pregnancy, ambivalent, or anti-pregnancy attitudes. Participants also reported their past-year contraceptive use, and the relationship between pregnancy attitudes and contraceptive use was subsequently explored for the overall sample, and by sex and history of pregnancy using Chi-square tests. Only 13.4 percent of participants had positive pregnancy intentions, although 41.9 percent reported that they would feel happy with a pregnancy. Over half (55.9 percent) of participants were anti-pregnancy, a third (32.8 percent) were ambivalent, and 11.3 percent were pro-pregnancy. Compared to females, males were more likely to have positive pregnancy intentions and to be pro-pregnancy. No differences in pregnancy attitudes were found as a function of pregnancy history. Consistent contraceptive use was significantly associated with pregnancy attitudes; 22.2 percent of pro-pregnancy participants reported consistent contraceptive use versus 52.9 percent of ambivalent and 62.2 percent of anti-pregnancy participants. In this exploratory study, few participants held pro-pregnancy attitudes and a high percentage of participants who were anti-pregnancy did not use contraception consistently. Although studies with larger samples examining this topic are needed, professionals should distinguish between young adults' intentions and feelings about pregnancy in an effort to better address contraceptive needs. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2018