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J Marriage Fam. 2017 Apr;79(2):356-371. doi: 10.1111/jomf.12338. Epub 2016 Jul 28.

Anticipated Emotions about Unintended Pregnancy in Relationship Context: Are Latinas Really Happier?

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Office of Population Research, Wallace Hall, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, 08544, USA.


This study examined differences in women's anticipated emotional orientations towards unintended pregnancy by relationship status and race/ethnicity. Data from a prospective survey of 437 women aged 18-44 who intended no more children for at least two years were analyzed along with 27 in-depth interviews among a diverse sub-sample. Cohabiting women and women in a romantic relationship not living together were less likely to profess happiness (OR=0.42, p<.05, OR=0.25, p<.01, respectively), even when partners' intentions/feelings were controlled. The most prominent factor underlying negative feelings was partners' anticipated lack of engagement with the emotional, physical, and financial toll of unintended childbearing. Contrary to conventional wisdom regarding the "Hispanic paradox", foreign-born and US-born Latinas were no more likely to profess happiness than non-Hispanic whites or blacks. Moreover, foreign-born Latinas whose survey responses indicated happiness often revealed highly negative feelings at in-depth interview, citing pressure to conform to sociocultural norms surrounding motherhood and abortion.


Ethnicity; Family Planning; Pregnancy; Qualitative Research; Relationships; Wellbeing

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