185081 Perceptions and misperceptions of intendedness of pregnancy and the likelihood of pregnancy

Wednesday, October 29, 2008: 1:30 PM

Susan Roberts-Dobie, PhD, CHES , Division of Health Promotion and Education, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA
Mary E. Losch, PhD , Center for Social & Behavioral Research, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA
Mary L. Aquilino, MSN, PhD, FNP , College of Public Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
The unintended pregnancy rate in the U.S. is high compared to other industrialized counties and there has been little downward movement since the IOM report in 1995. An RDD telephone survey (N=1018) was conducted in a Midwestern state to ascertain adult perceptions of reproductive health issues including unintended pregnancy.

Respondents estimated that 75.8% of pregnancies to teens were unintended. The actual unintended percentage in this group is 81%. Estimates for unmarried adult women were 56.8% compared to the actual 76.7%. Estimates for married adult women were 29.1% compared to the actual 23.0%. (Actual rates include both live births and terminations.) While estimates were close among teens and married women, the public clearly does not recognize the level of unintended pregnancies among unmarried adult women.

21.9% of females and 18.9% of males correctly identified the likelihood of becoming pregnant from one unprotected sexual act. More than 60% of respondents believed there was a 50% or greater chance that a woman would become pregnant from an individual sex act. While respondents overestimated risk from a single sex act, they greatly underestimated a woman's risk of pregnancy, if having unprotected sexual intercourse over a year. 55.6% of women and 56.5% of men accurately responded. 11% of women and 8% of men grossly underestimated the risk at less than 10%.

Discussion will also include respondents' perceptions of responsibility for prevention of unintended pregnancies and perceptions of factors contributing to unintended pregnancy and the implications of these perceptions on programs to reduce unintended pregnancy.

Learning Objectives:
1-Identify the public's perception of levels of intendedness of pregnancy among teens, unmarried adults and married adults. 2-Identify the public's perception of the likelihood of pregnancy from one act of unprotected sexual intercourse and a year of unprotected sexual intercourse. 3-Determine the impact of these and other public perceptions on programs working to reduce unintended pregnancies.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been involved in the data collection and analysis of this project and am part of a research team (The Iowa Initiative) that has among them hundreds of articles published, many specific to reproductive health and currently is conducting a 5-year intervention to reduce unintended pregnancies in the state. The presenting author has taught Maternal and Infant Health coursework, has been first author on more than a dozen papers, and has presented at APHA twice in the past.
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.