Unintended pregnancy (UP) is a significant public health problem. The consistent use of effective contraception is the primary method to prevent UP. We examined the role of childhood sexual and physical violence and current interpersonal violence on the risk of unintended pregnancy among young, urban, sexually active women. In particular, we were interested in examining the role of childhood violence and interpersonal violence while recognizing the psychological correlates of experiencing violence (i.e.
, high depressive symptoms and low self-esteem) and consistent use of contraception. For this assessment, 315 sexually active women living in Philadelphia PA were recruited from family planning clinics in 2013. A self-administered, computer-assisted interview was used to collect data on method of contraception use in the past month, consistency of use, experiences with violence, levels of depressive symptoms, self-esteem and sexual self-efficacy, substance use and health services utilization. Fifty percent of young sexually active women reported inconsistent or no contraception use in the past month. Inconsistent users were significantly more likely to report at least one prior episode of childhood sexual violence and were significantly less likely to have received a prescription for contraception from a health care provider. Inconsistent contraception users also reported significantly higher levels of depressive symptoms and significantly lower levels of self-esteem. The relation between childhood sexual violence and UP remained unchanged in the multivariate models adjusting for self-esteem or depressive symptoms. These findings highlight the long-term consequences of childhood sexual violence, independent of current depressive symptoms and low self-esteem, on consistent use of contraception.
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