Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 37(3-4), 1604–1636.
Type of Profession:
The study examined the prevalence and risk factors for reproductive coercion (RC), IPV, and unintended pregnancy among Latina women. The study highlights the risk of RC and its intersection with IPV and unintended pregnancy for Latina women and explores use of safety and harm reduction strategies.
Reproductive coercion (RC) describes a range of behaviors that restrict reproductive autonomy including pregnancy coercion, birth control sabotage, and controlling the outcome of a pregnancy. RC is associated with pregnancies that are mistimed and unwanted or unintended. Past research demonstrates that Latina women have higher risk for RC and for unintended pregnancy. Risk factors that have been documented in prior research include younger age, less education, higher religious activity, non-Hispanic Black, multiracial, or Latina, and being born in the United States when compared with women born elsewhere. Relationship factors have also been examined in prior research and have identified greater age discrepancy with the woman and her partner, not being married, and having multiple sex/dating partners. RC is also strongly associated with intimate partner violence (IPV). This cross-sectional descriptive study (this type of study involves looking at data from a population at one specific point in time. This type of research can be used to describe characteristics that exist in a community, but do not determine cause-and-effect relationships between different variables). The purpose of this study was to explore demographic and partner-related risk factors for RC, the association of RC with unintended pregnancy and IPV, and the use of RC safety and harm reduction strategies among Latina women attending an urban health center.
To conduct the study, a survey was administered to women between the ages of 15 and 45 who were attending a community health center who self-identified as Latina and who had a dating or sexual partner in the past year. Approximately one in six experienced past-year RC and risk factors that were identified included younger age and concurrent intimate partner violence. For the 185 participants who reported a past-year pregnancy, RC was associated with lower pregnancy planning scores.
Approximately 10.6% of study participants engaged in harm reduction strategies, most commonly ending an unhealthy or abusive relationship and using less detectable methods of contraception so that abusive partners would not find out.
The study articulates the risk of RC and its intersection with IPV and unintended pregnancy for Latina women. Providers working with racially and ethnically marginalized women have an important role in promoting safety and harm reduction strategies that include offering less detectable methods of contraception and support in leaving unhealthy and abusive relationships.
(The expanded abstract is excerpted and adapted from the article cited above).