Religiosity, Anticipated Guilt, and Contraceptive Workarounds: New Evidence From a Longitudinal Panel of Young Adult Women

Isabel McLoughlin , University of Texas at Austin
Abigail Weitzman, University of Michigan

In this study, we test the pathways by which religiosity affects young women’s sexual and contraceptive behaviors during the transition to adulthood using a cognitive-social framework. We begin by assessing familial and friend environments, then attitudes, and finally anticipated guilt after sex. We fit a series of logistic regressions with random effects using a novel sample of women aged 18 to 22 who were interviewed weekly over a 2.5 year period. Our results indicate that highly religious women have sex and use hormonal contraception less often than their less religious counterparts, but when having sex and not using a hormonal method, are more likely to use condoms than less religious women. The effects of religiosity operate partially through family, friends, and attitudes, but the strongest mediator of religiosity on all outcomes is the anticipation of feeling guilty.

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 Presented in Session 108. Influence of Religiosity, Morality, and Other Social Norms on Contraceptive Use Among Teenagers