University Faculty for Life
Twenty-Seventh Annual Conference "Life and Learning XXVII" June 9-10, 2017 University of St. Thomas School of Law Minneapolis, MN
Hormonal and other types of contraceptive methods are often prescribed to adolescents and young adults for the treatment of health problems and to avoid unwanted pregnancies. We hypothesized that there is a greater likelihood of pregnancy, abortion, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and sexual behaviors that enhance such problems (e.g., earlier sexual debut and multiple sex partners) for single adolescents and young adults currently using contraception than for adolescents and young adults not using contraception. To test this hypothesis, we used data from 1,365 adolescents and young adults in the 2011-2013 National Survey of Family Growth to describe the influence of current use of contraception on sexual debut, multiple sex partners, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, and abortion. We found that current use of contraception by adolescents and young adults in the U.S. results in a greater likelihood of pregnancy, abortion, and sexually transmitted diseases compared with the rates for those adolescents and young adults who never used oral contraceptives. Furthermore, those adolescents who currently use oral contraceptives had significantly more male sexual partners than those who never used them and an earlier sexual debut by almost five years. We concluded that the use of oral contraceptives by adolescents and young adults facilitates higher risk sexual behaviors. Further research is recommended to confirm these associations.