"Sin Querer Queriendo": Exploring The Factors Associated With Pregnancy Prevention And Pregnancy Intention Among Latino Youth In Montgomery County
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This study seeks to determine the factors that influence pregnancy desire and pregnancy prevention behavioral intentions among Latino youth. One out of two Latino girls in the U.S. will become pregnant before they turn 20. A pregnancy significantly hinders a teen's ability to pursue an education and develop professionally, and places an undue economic burden on the family. In order to appropriately address the factors that fuel teen birth rates, it is imperative to study behavioral, social, and cultural dynamics associated with pregnancy prevention and sexual behavior in the local Latino community. This study utilized the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) to explore factors associated with pregnancy prevention behaviors, namely abstinence, condom use, and birth control pill use. The study specifically addresses attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral controls of Latino adolescents/teens regarding three pregnancy prevention behaviors. The Pregnancy Wantedness Scale was designed to specifically measure pregnancy attitudes among youth. The study answered three main questions: 1) What are the characteristics of Latino youth who desire a pregnancy during their adolescent years?; 2) Are pregnancy prevention behavioral intentions associated with pregnancy wantedness?; and 3) Are attitudes, subjective norms and perceived behavioral control associated with pregnancy prevention behavioral intentions? A questionnaire was designed in English and Spanish using input from local community stakeholders. A total of 949 Latino youth were recruited using a central location intercept approach. Univariate and multiple linear regression analyses were used to answer the three research questions. Analyses were conducted separately for males and females with some and no sexual experience. Psychometric studies and factor analysis were conducted to assess the reliability and underlying structure of the scale. This study found that multiple demographic, familial and acculturation factors influenced youth's pregnancy intentions. For most groups, pregnancy wantedness was mostly influenced by youth's religion salience, acculturation level and living with a parent. Only condom use intention was associated with lower pregnancy wantedness for males. Perceived behavioral control and parental norms was positively associated with increased behavioral intentions across all three behaviors for most groups. This study suggests that practitioners should be aware of the gender, sexual experience and acculturation level of Latino youth when designing education interventions. Moreover, the findings of this study suggest that strengthening parental role and communication will protect youth from desiring a pregnancy and motivate them to use contraception effectively.