Unintended Fertility and Maladaptive Coping Strategies: Changes in Alcohol and Substance Use Among Young Adult Parents

Brian Timm , Bowling Green State University
Karen B. Guzzo, Bowling Green State University
Wendy D. Manning, Bowling Green State University
Monica A. Longmore, Bowling Green State University
Peggy C. Giordano, Bowling Green State University

A small but robust literature finds consequences exist for parents experiencing unintended fertility, but most studies are cross-sectional and ignore fathers’ experiences. Furthermore, researchers have not looked at substance use as a possible consequence of unintended fertility. Utilizing aspects of strain theory and family stress theory, we assessed whether having an unintended first child predicted change in drug and alcohol use, after accounting for pre-birth substance use and key correlates. We drew on the Toledo Adolescent Relationships Study, a population-based longitudinal data set with detailed information on substance use and the intendedness of births. In this preliminary draft, we examined whether change over time in substance use varied across parents and nonparents (N = 1,003) and, among parents (N = 302), whether change in substance use varied by intendedness. Although parents had lower drug and alcohol use than non-parents, there was no variation by birth intendedness.

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 Presented in Session 1. Fertility, Family Planning, Sexual Behavior, & Reproductive Health 1