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J Adolesc Health. 2012 May;50(5):450-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2011.09.008. Epub 2012 Feb 4.

Romantic relationship characteristics and alcohol use: longitudinal associations with dual method contraception use.

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Social Development Research Group, School of Social Work, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98115, USA.



Dual method contraception use, or the use of one type of contraceptive intended to prevent pregnancy combined with another type intended to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infection, may be the most effective method to prevent both unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection. This study tested the association between relationship length, relationship type (married, cohabiting, dating but not cohabiting), global alcohol use, and situational alcohol use and the probability of dual method contraception use from 20 to 23 years of age.


Hierarchical linear modeling analyses were conducted using longitudinal data from 754 sexually active male and female young adults aged 20-23 years. Dependent variables included both any dual method contraception use and consistent dual method contraception use.


Between 15% and 20% of respondents reported consistent dual method contraception use at each time point. Longer relationship length and more committed relationship type were associated with a lower probability of both any and consistent dual method contraception use. Situational alcohol use (drinking before sex), but not global alcohol use, also was related to a lower probability of both any and consistent dual method contraception use. Increasing age was associated with a lower probability of any dual method contraception use, but was not related to consistent dual method use.


Efforts to promote dual method contraception among young adults should include messages discouraging drinking before sex and supporting dual method use even in the context of committed relationships.

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