¡Tenemos que hablar! (We need to talk!): The contraceptive use of Mexican American young women
Research into the lives of Mexican American women’s contraceptive use is limited. The purpose of this dissertation was to examine the social determinants of contraceptive use at last sexual encounter for Mexican American young women. Women aged 18–24 were the focus as they are at an increased risk for sexually transmitted infections (i.e., chlamydia, HIV/AIDS) due to risky sexual behaviors. This study utilized an integrated theoretical framework based on the social epidemiological perspective and the symbolic interactionist models of DeLamater and Christopher. The National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) 2002, 2006–2010, and 2011–2013 female respondent datasets were utilized. Logistic regression is the main method for data analysis. The results establish there is a significant effect of talking to one’s parents about sex on predicting contraceptive use at last sexual encounter. However, the type of sex education (i.e., abstinence-only or comprehensive) has no effect on contraceptive use at last sexual encounter. Moreover, Mexican American young women who grew up with a higher family income are more likely to use contraceptives in their last sexual encounter than those with a lower family income. Additionally, Mexican American young women who have multiple sexual partners are more likely to use contraceptives in their last sexual encounter than those women who only had one sexual partner. This study contributes to a better understanding of the social determinants that impact contraceptive use among this population. The findings from this dissertation can influence policy makers by demonstrating the need to produce culturally competent programs and policies that reduce unplanned pregnancies and STIs and produce proper sex education.