Cover: Neighborhood and Individual-Level Violence and Unintended Pregnancy

Neighborhood and Individual-Level Violence and Unintended Pregnancy

Published in: Journal of Urban Health, v. 87, no. 4, July 2010, p. 677-687

Posted on 2010

by Lori Uscher-Pines, Deborah B. Nelson

As many as half of all pregnancies are unintended, and unintended pregnancy has been linked to a variety of adverse pregnancy and infant health outcomes. Our aim was to determine if urban women who experience high levels of neighborhood and/or individual-level violence are at an increased risk of reporting an unintended pregnancy. One thousand five hundred thirty-six pregnant women seeking care in an emergency department in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania were recruited in their first or second trimester and completed in-person interviews. Information on demographic characteristics, social support, substance abuse, current experience and history of interpersonal violence, perceptions of current neighborhood-level violence, and the intendedness of their current pregnancy were gathered. Multiple logistic regression analyses were conducted to assess the relationship between violence indicators and pregnancy intendedness. Six hundred twenty-seven women (41%) reported an unintended pregnancy. Not feeling safe in one's neighborhood was significantly associated with reporting an unintended pregnancy (odds ratio (OR), 1.28; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.02-1.61) when demographic, other neighborhood, and individual-level violence indicators were accounted for. Furthermore, history of sexual abuse (OR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.11-2.04), violence in previous pregnancy (OR = 1.7, 95% CI, 1.15-2.51), and a high index of spousal abuse score (OR = 1.6; 95% CI, 1.32-2.04) were also associated with unintended pregnancy in multiple logistic regression models. These findings indicate that neighborhood-level violence and other individual-level violence indicators may be important when examining factors related to unintended pregnancy among young, urban women.

This report is part of the RAND external publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.