Barber, Jennifer, Yasamin Kusunoki, Heather Gatny, and Jennifer Eckerman Yarger. 2013. "Young Women’s Relationships, Contraception and Unintended Pregnancy in the United States." Pp. 121-140 in Fertility Rates and Population Decline: No Time for Children?, Palgrave Macmillan.
In this chapter, we describe new research to investigate relationships, contraception and undesired pregnancies during the transition to adulthood. The Relationship Dynamics and Social Life (RDSL) study began with a 60-minute in-person interview about family background and current relationship characteristics. At the conclusion of the interview, respondents were enrolled in the journal-based portion of the study, which consisted of a 5-minute survey via web or phone and occurred weekly for 2.5 years. We begin by describing the prevalence and significance of undesired pregnancy in the United States and the limitations of past research on undesired pregnancy as background for our study. Then we describe the specific aims of our study and its design strengths. Next we provide a description of the young women in our sample, their relationships and their pregnancy intentions as of the baseline interview, as well as a summary of any changes across the weekly journals. Finally, we provide a summary of study findings that provide new insights into the contexts producing undesired pregnancies among young women. The results presented throughout the chapter are preliminary as data collection only recently ended in January 2012.