Girls who rely on a boyfriend for money are less likely to use condoms

February 28, 2012 By Laura Kennedy, Health Behavior News Service
Girls who rely on a boyfriend for money are less likely to use condoms

Young women whose boyfriends are their primary source of spending money are more likely to report that their boyfriends never use condoms, according to a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

These adolescent women may not explicitly exchange money for , says the report, “but their relationships may be implicitly transactional.”

“We live in a consumerist society in which people may feel that they cannot belong unless they have certain things,” explains lead author Janet Rosenbaum, Ph.D., who studies sexual decision-making at the University of Maryland Population Research Center. “Teens who have needs that they feel aren’t being met may act unwisely to meet those needs.”

“Safe sex interventions and clinicians must consider economic factors that may interfere with adolescents’ practice of safe sex,” say the authors.

The new findings are based on detailed questionnaires completed by more than 700 African-American females ages 15 to 21 participating in an HIV-prevention study in Atlanta. All were unmarried and sexually active.

The filled out surveys at the beginning, middle, and end of the one-year study.

At the start of the study, nearly one-quarter of the participants said their boyfriend was their primary source of spending money.

Among those depending on a boyfriend for spending money, 25 percent said that their partner had not used a condom in the preceding two months. Among the other girls, who received spending money from family members, employment or other sources, only 15 percent reported having unprotected sex. Similarly, young women who discontinued receiving most of their money from their boyfriend during the study were more likely to use safe-sex behaviors.

Researchers matched the two groups on more than 75 characteristics, including education, relationship quality, and self esteem measures, so that there were no important differences between the adolescents other than their primary source of . Thus, the researchers say, safe programs that empower young women economically may be more effective than other methods.

“The decisions that women and men make in their relationships cross socioeconomic boundaries,” concurs Elizabeth Schroeder, Ed.D., executive director of Answer, a nonprofit dedicated to comprehensive sexuality education.

“This study only looks at half of the dyad. Similar research is needed to question young men about how economic factors affect their sexual decision-making. Sexual decision-making is complicated and complex, this study tries to simplify a really, really complicated topic," Schroeder concludes.

Explore further: Bisexual, lesbian women less likely to get pap tests

More information: Rosenbaum, J. et al. (2012). Cash, Cars and Condoms: Economic Factors in Disadvantaged Adolescent Women’s Condom Use. Journal of Adolescent Health, doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2011.12.012

Related Stories

Bisexual, lesbian women less likely to get pap tests

June 7, 2011
A new study finds that young bisexual and lesbian women are less likely to get Pap tests than straight women, while young bisexual women face a higher risk of being diagnosed with sexually transmitted diseases.

Safer-sex ed for women increases condom use, might reduce partners

April 13, 2011
Teaching young women how to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) increases condom use and might reduce their number of sexual partners, but little research exists on whether educational programs reduce rates of ...

HPV vaccine does not appear to encourage risky sexual behavior

December 13, 2011
Despite some assumptions to the contrary, young women who receive recommended vaccinations to prevent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and associated cancers do not engage in more sexually risky behavior.

Protecting adolescent girls from unwanted unprotected sex

September 6, 2011
Partner abuse leads to HIV infection, and black women are most at risk. A new study at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing has found that 46 percent of African-American adolescent girls report that their partner ...

Recommended for you

Placental accumulation of flame retardant chemical alters serotonin production in rats

January 22, 2018
A North Carolina State University-led research team has shown a connection between exposure to a widely used flame retardant chemical mixture and disruption of normal placental function in rats, leading to altered production ...

Marijuana use does not lower chances of getting pregnant

January 22, 2018
Marijuana use—by either men or women—does not appear to lower a couple's chances of getting pregnant, according to a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.