Trends in Sexual Experience, Contraceptive Use, and Teenage Childbearing: 1992–2002


This article identifies how family, individual, and relationship characteristics are associated with the transition to sexual intercourse, contraceptive use during the first sexual encounter, and the transition to a teen pregnancy. Results indicate that changes in family and relationship characteristics among American teens have been associated with positive trends in reproductive health since the early 1990s. The research suggests that it is important for programs to take into consideration how family, individual, and relationship environments influence decision-making about sex, contraception, and childbearing.

  • “National trends also show declines in sexual experience and increases in contraceptive use among teens. However, researchers, advocates, and policy makers disagree about whether the decline in teen birth rates is because of increases in abstinence or to increases in contraceptive use or more effective method use among sexually active teens.” (Manlove et al., 2009, p. 413)
  • “Analyses support hypotheses that changes in teens’ family environments and sexual relationships may have contributed to improvements in reproductive health behaviors.” (Manlove et al., 2009, p. 420)
  • “Our findings also indicate, however, that positive family trends may be offset, in part, by increases in nonmarital child-bearing and single-parent families.” (Manlove et al., 2009, p. 421)
  • “As hypothesized, we found that changes in sexual relationships across cohorts may help explain improved patterns of reproductive health. For example, an older age at first sex is linked to increased contraceptive use for males and females and reduced odds of a teen birth for females, supporting previous research.” (Manlove et al., 2009, p. 421)

Manlove, J., Ikramullah, E., Mincieli, L., Holcombe, E., & Danish, S. (2009). Trends in sexual experience, contraceptive use, and teenage childbearing: 1992–2002. Journal of Adolescent Health, Vol. 44., Issue 5, 413–423.

Link to article.


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