Male Partner Pregnancy-Promoting Behaviors and Adolescent Partner Violence: Findings from a Qualitative Study with Adolescent Females

Elizabeth Miller, Michele R. Decker, Elizabeth Reed, Anita Raj, Jeanne E. Hathaway, Jay G. Silverman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine the context of pregnancy and sexual health among adolescent females with a history of intimate partner violence (IPV). This paper reports on a subset of females who described abusive male partners' explicit pregnancy-promoting behaviors (ie, messages and behaviors that led females to believe their partner was actively trying to impregnate them). Methods: Semistructured interviews were conducted with 53 sexually active adolescent females, with known history of IPV, about violence, sexual experiences, and related behaviors. Interviews were analyzed using a content analysis approach; 14 interviews in which females reported that partners were actively trying to impregnate them were further analyzed for pregnancy and contraceptive use. Results: Participants (N = 53) were aged 15 to 20 years, with notable minority representation, 21% African American (n = 11) and 38% Latina (n = 20). Over half (n = 31, 58%) had experienced pregnancy. A key finding was that approximately one quarter of participants (26%, n = 14) reported that their abusive male partners were actively trying to get them pregnant. Females' stories revealed that abusive male partners desiring pregnancy manipulated condom use, sabotaged birth control use, and made explicit statements about wanting her to become pregnant. Conclusions: Pregnancy-promoting behaviors of male abusive partners may be one potential mechanism underlying associations between adolescent IPV and pregnancy. These findings suggest that exploring pregnancy intentions and behaviors of partners of sexually active adolescents may help to identify youth experiencing IPV. The frequency of birth control sabotage and explicit attempts to cause pregnancy in adolescent IPV needs to be examined at the population level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)360-366
Number of pages7
JournalAmbulatory Pediatrics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • adolescent sexual behavior
  • interpersonal violence
  • intimate partner violence
  • reproductive health
  • teen pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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