Senior Scholars Program


Trends and determinants of reproductive health service use among young women in the USA

UMMS Affiliation

School of Medicine

Faculty Mentor

Marianne Felice

Publication Date


Document Type



Adolescent; Aging; Contraception Behavior; Educational Status; Family Planning Services; Female; Health Care Surveys; Healthcare Disparities; Humans; Menstruation Disturbances; Preventive Health Services; Reproductive Health Services; Sexual Behavior; Sexual Partners; Socioeconomic Factors; United States; Young Adult


Health Services Research | Medicine and Health | Obstetrics and Gynecology | Women's Health


BACKGROUND: This study explores the current patterns of reproductive health service use among young women in the USA and the changing influence of socio-demographic factors on the types of services used over time.

METHODS: The study population, drawn from the two last cycles of the National Survey of Family Growth, consists of women aged 15-24 (n = 2543 in 1995, n = 2157 in 2002). We examined trends in use of 'contraceptive services' and 'other reproductive health services for preventive care' and tested for changes in the patterns of use of these services over time. Logistic regression models were used to further clarify the factors associated with the use of the two types of services in 2002.

RESULTS: Results show no difference in the overall use of reproductive health services in the past year but did reveal changes in the type of service sought. Use of services for contraception increased by 10 percentage points (39.3% in 1995 to 49.7% in 2002, P < 0.001), although the use of other services remained stable (53.2% in 1995, 50.2% in 2002, P = 0.14). The patterns of use varied over time, exhibiting growing social disparities. In 2002, the use of contraceptive services depended on women's age, number of partners, personal and mother's level of education, and menstrual problems. The use of other reproductive health services for preventive care varied across women's socio-economic background.

CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates increasing social differentials in the use of reproductive health services for preventive care among young women in the USA between 1995 and 2002, a finding which calls for careful monitoring in the context of limited resources.

DOI of Published Version



Hum Reprod. 2009 Dec;24(12):3010-8. doi: 10.1093/humrep/dep333. Epub 2009 Sep 20. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Human reproduction (Oxford, England)


Medical student Julia Potter participated in this study as part of the Senior Scholars research program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID