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Research study

Gender-based Power and Contraceptive Use among Adolescents and Young Adults

ANSIRH’s Reproductive Autonomy Scale was developed based on data from a sample of adult women of childbearing age. The next phase of ANSIRH’s work on Reproductive Autonomy involves, in part, testing and adapting the scale for use with adolescents. To do this, Dr. Ushma Upadhyay is leading a project to examine the pathways between power, gender norms, and contraceptive use among young people ages 15 to 24. The project entails three components:

  • Part 1: Conduct in-depth interviews with 20 young men and 20 young women at New Generation Health Center in San Francisco, CA. Topics covered by the qualitative interviews include:
    • Power in current relationship(s)
    • Femininities, masculinities
    • Reproductive autonomy
    • Notions of gender roles
    • Sexual coercion
    • Protection against STIs
    • Contraceptive use and non-use
    • Unintended pregnancy
    • Abortion
  • Part 2: Adapt existing measures of reproductive autonomy, including ANSIRH’s Reproductive Autonomy Scale, gender relations, gender-based power and masculinities and femininities for use with adolescents and young men and women.  Our aim is to develop new measures that assess autonomy and empowerment among young unmarried women in particular. 
  • Part 3: Implement a pilot prospective study to test the hypothesis that power imbalances, adherence to gender norms and traditional norms of masculinity lead to inconsistent contraceptive use and discontinuation.

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ANSIRH is a program within the UCSF Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health and is a part of UCSF's Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences.

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