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Attitudes towards contraception, pregnancy and abortion among male adolescents and young adults

Sarah Combellick, MPH, University of California, Davis

Adolescent childbearing is a public health concern with significant consequences for teen parents and their children. As prior teen pregnancy prevention efforts have primarily focused on teen mothers with limited attention to teen fathers, gaps remain in understanding male pregnancy intentions, views of abortion, and influences on contraceptive use. Rigid norms about masculinity have been found to contribute to sexual risk behaviors among young men. However, studies have yet to examine the ways concepts of masculinity shape pregnancy intentions, partner communication, utilization of abortion services and fertility behaviors. As juvenile justice involved youth (JJIY) are at particularly elevated risk for adolescent fatherhood, we have begun to conduct qualitative interviews with male JJIY. Building on input from community stakeholders in the Sacramento region and a reproductive justice framework, we propose to expand this work by exploring differences between young men who are and are not involved in the juvenile justice system (JJS). Specifically, we will explore the degree to which social and cultural factors related to masculinity influence pregnancy intentions, partner communication, and sexual risk behaviors, within and outside the JJS. Understanding the attitudes and behaviors that influence male pregnancy intentions will contribute to the development of innovative, pregnancy prevention programs tailored for young men, within and outside the JJS.


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