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Does pregnancy/paternity intention predict contraception use? A study among US soldiers who have completed initial entry training
  1. Kathleen O'Rourke, PhD, MPH, Professor1,
  2. Mary Roddy, PhD, MPH, Professor1,
  3. Alice Richman, MPH, Doctoral Candidate2 and
  4. Michael Custer, DrPH, Director3
  1. Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA
  2. Department of Community and Family Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA
  3. United States Army Center for Health Promotion … Preventive Medicine, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, USA
  1. Correspondence to Ms Alice Richman, Department of Community and Family Health, University of South Florida, College of Public Health, 13201 Bruce B Downs Boulevard, MDC 56, Tampa, FL 33612, USA. E-mail: arichman{at}


Background and methodology The US Army represents a community of young adults at risk for unintended pregnancy/paternity. Our study evaluated the effect of pregnancy/paternity intention on contraceptive choice amongst new, sexually active and non-pregnant recruits. A total of 592 males and 503 females completed self-administered surveys asking about pregnancy/paternity intention, contraceptive use at last intercourse, and potential confounding factors. A multidimensional measurement of pregnancy intention was developed. Contraceptive efficacy was categorised as a four-level ordinal variable. Multivariate ordinal regression measured the association between pregnancy/paternity intention and the most efficacious birth control method used at last intercourse.

Results Only 7% of participants planned a pregnancy in the next 6 months, but almost 33% of them used no birth control at last intercourse. Each unit increase in pregnancy avoidance scale was associated with a 14% increase in efficacy of birth control method used (p<0.0001). Effectiveness of birth control method increased for age (p = 0.0873), post-secondary education (p = 0.0142) and male gender (p = 0.0019.). Binge drinking reduced the likelihood of being in a higher category of birth control use (p = 0.0258).

Discussion and conclusions Intention to avoid pregnancy and being male was associated with use of higher-level birth control methods.

  • contraception use
  • family planning
  • unintended pregnancy/paternity
  • US Army

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