Interactions between Genes and Social Context for Contraceptive Use in Adolescence and Young Adulthood

Guang Guo, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Jonathan Daw, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Demographers studying contraceptive usage have heretofore emphasized elements such as relevant individual knowledge and motivation, and relationship and general social contexts. However, to date no work has examined potential genetic contributions to contraceptive behaviors which may interact with the environment, as with other risky behaviors (Caspi et al. 2002, 2003). Using genetic and behavioral data from three waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), our study investigates possible relationships between theoretically relevant genetic polymorphism - including DRD2, MAOA, DRD4, and DAT1 - and contraceptive self-reports among adolescents and young adults. Our preliminary results suggest that contraceptive behavior is structured both genetically as well as socially. Different genetic polymorphisms influence contraceptive usage at first sex, most recent sex, and more general patterns of contraceptive usage. Furthermore, the nature of these genetic effects appears to vary by social groupings, suggesting a strong possibility of gene-environment interactions.

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Presented in Session 53: Contraception