Sunday, March 20, 2016

Unintended Pregnancy, Depression, and Hazardous Drinking in a Community-Based Sample of Sexual Minority Women

Unintended pregnancy is a stressful life event with important implications for women's health. Little research has examined sexual minority women's (SMW; lesbian, bisexual, mostly heterosexual) experiences of unintended pregnancy, and no studies have examined the relationship between unintended pregnancy, mental health, and negative coping behaviors in this population.

We used the Chicago Health and Life Experiences of Women (CHLEW) Study (n = 454), a diverse sample of SMW, to examine the relationship between self-reported unintended pregnancy, depressive symptoms, and hazardous drinking. We used generalized linear model-building techniques and adjusted for key sociodemographic controls, as well as unintended pregnancy risk factors, including childhood physical and sexual abuse and age of sexual debut.

Twenty-four percent of the sample reported an unintended pregnancy. SMW who reported unintended pregnancies also reported significantly more depressive symptoms and greater risk of hazardous drinking. Adjusting for childhood abuse explained the relationship between unintended pregnancy and depressive symptoms, but not the relationship between unintended pregnancy and hazardous drinking.

Unintended pregnancy among SMW is an understudied topic. Our results suggest that unintended pregnancy is not uncommon among SMW and highlight the need for more research to investigate the mechanisms that link unintended pregnancy to depression and to hazardous drinking within this population.

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  • 1 Department of Sociology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • 2 Department of Sociology, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.
  • 3 Department of Health Systems Science, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois. 
  •  2016 Mar 15.

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