Reproductive coercion is a concern for teen girls, too

July 16, 2019

It may seem like something that only adult women will experience, but reproductive coercion can be a problem for older teenaged girls as well, according to a new study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

It may seem like something that only adult women will experience, but reproductive coercion can be a problem for older teenaged girls as well, according to a new study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

The researchers looked at survey data from sexually active adolescent girls aged 14 to 19 years who had received care at a school health center in Northern California. Outcomes found included nonpartner sexual violence victimization, reproductive coercion, and physical or sexual adolescent relationship abuse. The sample included 550 girls.

The researchers found that 12% of the girls in the study sample reported reproductive coercion that had occurred in the past 3 months and 17% indicated physical or sexual violence. Seventeen percent of the girls reported a nonpartner sexual violence experience. Girls who had a recent experience of reproductive coercion were just as likely to seek care as those who had no experience and girls who were the subject of physical or sexual abuse were more likely to seek testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infection. For girls who had exposure to both reproductive coercion and relationship abuse, it was likely that the girl was using only hormonal contraception, had a partner who was aged at least 5 years older than her, and had at least 2 additional sexual partners.

 

With 1 in 8 adolescent girls experiencing recent reproductive coercion, researchers say that universal assessment for reproductive coercion and relationship abuse in high school-aged adolescents could help ensure that they get help when it’s needed.