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Ambivalence versus indifference towards pregnancy in young women

Jeanelle Sheeder, University of Colorado, Denver, 2009
See also executive summary.

Project abstract

American adolescents are at higher risk for pregnancy than adolescents in other industrialized nations. Most know how to obtain and use contraceptives and deny they want babies. However, many do not use contraception because they are either ambivalent or indifferent about pregnancy.

These states can develop in two different situations: when young women feel that pregnancy would have both good and bad effects on their lives, or when they think that particular consequences of pregnancy would have little effect (good or bad) on their lives. It is therefore extremely important to further understand what distinguishes ambivalence from indifference and how these states contribute to contraceptive use.

This proposal is part of a long-term research agenda with the goal of improving our understanding of pregnancy abmivalence and indifference. In specific aim 1, we will prospectively distinguish ambivalence from indifference towards pregnancy among young women who are sexually active and not currently using contraception. In specific aim 2, we will compare contraceptive choices in these young women to determine if there are differences between young women who are ambivalent or indifferent and if other sociodemographic factors may contribute to these states.

Contributions of this project include a new understanding of the different contraceptive practices that arise from different cognitive states. The results of this research will be used to develop and test counseling strategies tailored to the individual cognitive and emotional state of young women with unmet contraceptive need.

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