Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Epidemiology & Community Health

First Advisor

Dr. Derek A. Chapman


Purpose: Unintended pregnancies are often a burden to pregnant women and to the health care system. The rates of unintended pregnancies have decreased since the wide use of contraceptives has increased; however, young women, women with low income, and racial/ethnic minorities are more likely to use contraceptives inconsistently, which increases the risk of an unintended pregnancy. This risk could be reduced with the proper use of emergency contraceptives (ECs).Methods and Analysis: A cross-sectional study was conducted using the data from the female respondents of the 2002 Cycle 6 NSFG. Logistic regression was used to determine rates of use of ECs among different risk groups. A second analysis only including women who have had an abortion in the past 12 months was also conducted.Results: In the total study population, women over the age of 30 were more likely to never have used ECs, to not have used ECs in the past 12 months, and to not have received EC counseling in the past 12 months. Among those who have had an abortion, women aged 15-19 were less likely to have never received ECs. Those aged 15-19 and 30-34 were less likely to not receive EC counseling. Income level did not have a significant effect on use of EC services. For the whole study population, Hispanic women were significantly less like to not receive ECs in the past 12 months. Hispanic women were also less likely to not receive EC counseling in the past 12 months for the total study population and for those who have had an abortion.Discussion: Unintended pregnancies create burden for individuals as well as the public health infrastructure. ECs could help to prevent some of these unintended pregnancies. Age was the most significant and consistent predictor of use of EC services Further research should focus on evaluating the use of ECs specifically among those who have unprotected sex in order to more precisely evaluate the characteristics of women using and not using ECs. Further research into the barriers preventing women from accessing ECs is also necessary to increase use of ECs and prevent unintended pregnancies.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008

Included in

Epidemiology Commons