Based on data collected from 1,892 women at 13 family planning and 6 abortion facilities in the United States, ANSIRH researchers, led by Dr. Ushma Upadhyay, developed the first-ever Reproductive Autonomy Scale. This validated, multidimensional instrument that can measure reproductive autonomy, or a woman’s ability to achieve her reproductive intentions using 14 items grouped into 3 subscales: freedom from coercion; communication; and decision-making. Increased scores on the scale were associated with lower likelihood of unprotected sex in the past three months. This new Reproductive Autonomy Scale, available in English and Spanish, offers researchers a reliable instrument with which to assess a woman’s power to control matters regarding contraceptive use, pregnancy, and childbearing, and to evaluate interventions to increase women’s autonomy domestically and globally.
The Reproductive Autonomy Scale may be useful in reproductive and sexual health programs in the United States and around the world. For example, an organization that plans to implement a new family planning program within a community may want to implement the Reproductive Autonomy Scale before and after the program is implemented to assess any change in reproductive autonomy over time. Additionally, we believe that clinicians could use the scale as an assessment or screening tool to identify clients at high risk of reproductive coercion and inconsistent contraceptive use.
Resources for using the Reproductive Autonomy Scale:
- English version of the Scale
- Spanish version of the Scale
- Portuguese version of the Scale
- A published paper on the development of the Scale (available free through Open Access)
Researchers are not required to obtain permission from the author to use the scale, however we would love to hear about how you are using it and support your use. If you plan to use the scale, please e-mail us and let us know. We are also available to answer your questions about the scale.