Understanding differences in conception and abortion rates among under-20 year olds in Britain and France: Examining the contribution of social disadvantage.


Scott, RH; Bajos, N; Slaymaker, E; Wellings, K; Mercer, CH; (2017) Understanding differences in conception and abortion rates among under-20 year olds in Britain and France: Examining the contribution of social disadvantage. PloS one, 12 (10). e0186412. ISSN 1932-6203 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0186412

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Abstract

Socioeconomic status has been shown to be associated with sexual activity, contraceptive-use, pregnancy and abortion among young people. Less is known about whether the strength of the association differs for each outcome, between men and women, or cross-nationally. We investigate this using contemporaneous national probability survey data from Britain and France. Data were analysed for 17-29 year-olds in Britain's third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3, n = 5959) undertaken 2010-2012, and the 2010 French Fertility, Contraception and Sexual Dysfunction survey (FECOND, n = 3027). For each country, we estimated the gender-specific prevalence of sex before-16, contraceptive-use, conception before-20, and abortion in the event of conception, and used logistic regression to examine associations between two measures of socioeconomic status-educational-level and parental socioeconomic-group-and each outcome. We tested for interactions between socioeconomic characteristics and country, and socioeconomic characteristics and gender, for each outcome. For each outcome, Britain and France differed with regard to prevalence but associations with socioeconomic characteristics were similar. Respondents of higher educational level, and, less consistently, with parents from higher socioeconomic-groups, were less likely to report sex before-16 (Britain, men: adjusted OR (aOR) 0.5, women: aOR 0.5; France, men: aOR 0.5, women: aOR 0.5), no contraception at first sex (Britain, men: aOR 0.4, women: aOR 0.6; France, men: aOR 0.4, women: aOR 0.4), pregnancy before-20 (Britain: aOR 0.3; France: aOR 0.1), and in Britain, a birth rather than an abortion in the event of conception (Britain: aOR 3.1). We found no strong evidence of variation in the magnitude of the associations with socioeconomic characteristics by country or gender. Population level differences in conception and abortion rates between the two countries may partly be driven by the larger proportion of the population that is disadvantaged in Britain. This research highlights the role intra-country comparisons can play in understanding young people's sexual and reproductive behaviours.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- )
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- ) > Dept of Population Studies (1974-2012)
Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Social and Environmental Health Research
PubMed ID: 29036209
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/4564488

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