Differences in Young Women’s First Sexual Experience by Disability Status

Carrie L. Shandra, Hofstra University
Dennis Hogan, Brown University
Afra R. Chowdhury, PhD, Brown University

First intercourse is an important experience in the young adult life course. While previous research has examined racial, sex, and socioeconomic differences in the characteristics of first sex, less is known about differences by disability status. Using a sample of women from the NLSY97, this paper examines the association between disability and type of first sexual relationship, degree of discussion about birth control, use of birth control, and--among those who do not contracept--pregnancy wantedness. Regression analyses indicate that women with disabilities experience first intercourse in different types of relationships than women without disabilities. While we find no differences in discussion about or use of birth control by disability status, women with disabilities who do not contracept are more likely to want a pregnancy than women without disabilities. Results suggest family planning assistance might be most beneficial for young women with disabilities if provided before they become sexually active.

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Presented in Poster Session 5