176191 Multipartnered fertility among African American and Puerto Rican emergent adults: The view from below

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pamela Erickson, DrPH, PhD , Anthropology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
Linda Hock-Long, PhD , Research Department, Family Planning Council, Philadelphia, PA
Claudia Santelices, PhD , Center for Health, Intervention, and Prevention, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
Amy Cassidy , Research Department, Family Planning Council, Philadelphia, PA
Mark M. Macauda, MPH, PhD , Center for Health, Intervention and Prevention, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
Merrill Singer, Ph D , Center for Health, Intervention and Prevention, University of Connecticut, Hartford, CT
Multipartnered fertility is the latest reproductive social problem to be identified. It is "a problem whose importance is perhaps equal to that of non-marital childbearing, unintended childbearing, and childbearing among women younger than age 18."(Klerman 2007: 56). It is more likely among women who are single when they have their first child, who begin childbearing early (i.e., as adolescents), who live in poverty, and among minority women. Using data from sexual and relationship life history interviews that track the trajectory and nature of participants' most important sexual and romantic relationships (N=120) and focus groups about the meaning of children and parenting (N=8) among inner city African American and Puerto Rican emerging young adults (age 18-25) in Hartford and Philadelphia, we describe the social context in which young people come to have children with more than one partner and how this affects their lives. Many of our participants already have children (40% in Hartford, 47% in Philadelphia) and most of them are not still romantically involved with the father/mother of their child, although they may share some childrearing responsibilities. This pattern ensures multipartnered fertility will be the norm. We discuss the social and economic importance of the role of "baby mama/daddy" within social and cultural context. We argue that biomedicalization of multipartnered fertility extends the stigma of early childbearing throughout the lives of those who embody this experience and live in quite a different world than those proposing delayed childbearing and marriage as the solution.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the socio-cultural and interpersonal relationship context in which multipartnered fertility occurs. 2. Discuss the negative impact of stigmatizing multipartnered fertility among lower SES minority populations. 3. Identify the structural factors that contribute to mutipartnered fertility.

Keywords: Reproductive Planning, Minorities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Principal Investigator at the Hartford site.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.