Relationship Qualities and Consistent Condom Use among Unmarried Young Adults

Larry Gibbs, Bowling Green State University
Peggy C. Giordano, Bowling Green State University
Monica A. Longmore, Bowling Green State University

Young adulthood is marked by new sexual relationships as well as declines from adolescence in condom use. High rates of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections occur in young adulthood. Yet, little is known about how relational factors that influence condom consistency. Drawing on the Toledo Adolescent Relationship Study (n=602) we explore the association between relationship qualities among unmarried young adults and consistent condom use. We also account for prior contraceptive behavior during adolescence. We find that negative relationship qualities (verbal abuse and physical violence) are associated with lower odds of consistent condom use and at the same time positive relationship qualities (instrumental support and salience) are tied to less consistent condom use. The reasons provided for inconsistent condom use often rest on relationship specific factors. This work contributes to prior work by focusing on relationship contexts and offers new understandings of sexual risk taking in young adulthood.

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Presented in Session 47: Gender, Relationships and Sexual Behavior