With most emerging adults being sexually active; contraceptive use is an important health consideration in this population. Contraceptive use patterns are influenced by complex and competing factors. While much research has focused on the relationships between risk indicators and contraceptive use, less research has focused on protective factors that may be associated with consistent contraceptive use. Emerging adult developmental theory and a positive youth development (PYD) framework may provide a structure for considering the roles of protective factors (i.e., external supports and internal assets) on consistent contraceptive and condom use among college attending emerging adult women.
Using secondary data analysis from Wave III of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), this study evaluated relationships between external supports (i.e., parental caring and current relationship with caring non-parental adult), and internal assets (i.e., self-esteem, confidence, independence and life satisfaction) and consistent contraceptive and condom use. It also evaluated relationships between risk indicators (i.e., heavy episodic alcohol use, marijuana use and depressive symptoms), and consistent contraceptive and condom use, and interactive effects of protective factors and risk indicators on consistent contraceptive use.
Findings indicated that all of the internal assets evaluated in this study (i.e., self-esteem, confidence, independence, life satisfaction) were significantly and positively related to consistent contraceptive use. There were no significant relationships between external supports and consistent contraceptive use. Among risk indicators, marijuana use and depressive symptoms were significantly and negatively related to consistent contraceptive use. Protective factors did not moderate the relationships between risk indicators and consistent contraceptive use.
Examining consistent condom use, there were no significant relationships between any protective factors and this study outcome. Of the study's risk indicators, only heavy episodic alcohol use had a significant bivariate relationship with consistent condom use; this relationship became non-significant in a multivariate model that accounted for known correlates of consistent condom use.
This study supports the use of strengths based interventions throughout youth, adolescence and emerging adulthood to decrease the risks associated with inconsistent contraceptive use. The need for continued research to better understand the roles of protective factors and risk indicators on consistent contraceptive and condom use are discussed.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2013. Major: Nursing. Advisor: Renee Sieving, PhD, RN, FSAHM. 1 computer file (PDF); xvi, 146 pages, appendix p. 146.
Morrison, Leslie F..
Contraceptive use among emerging adult college women: results from a national survey.
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