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Exploring Body Image, Contraceptive Use, and Sexual Health Outcomes Among an Ethnically Diverse Sample of Women

Abstract

This cross-sectional study examined the links between body appreciation, contraceptive use, and sexual health outcomes. Body appreciation has been shown to influence contraceptive use in homogenous samples of women. However, a common problem in body image literature is a lack of racial and ethnic diversity with regard to sample; this study was able to take steps toward overcoming that limitation. A sample of 499 women aged 18–56 (M = 26.24; SD = 6.15) was recruited via Reddit.com—White (29.3%, n = 120), Asian (19%, n = 78), Black (17.3%, n = 73), multiracial (13.9%, n = 57), and Latina (13.9%, n = 57). Covariates included race/ethnicity, body size as measured by body mass index, relationship status, age, sexual orientation, and education level. Results indicated that higher levels of body appreciation were related to a higher likelihood of using non-barrier contraception. Regarding the covariates, race, relationship status, age, and education were related to non-barrier contraceptive use and age was related to dual contraceptive use. Further exploration is needed to determine how body appreciation may affect contraceptive use and sexual health outcomes and how these differ by race/ethnicity.

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Acknowledgements

Funding was provided by Mangel Catalyst Fund, University of Missouri.

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Correspondence to Virginia Ramseyer Winter.

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Ramseyer Winter, V., Ruhr, L., Pevehouse, D. et al. Exploring Body Image, Contraceptive Use, and Sexual Health Outcomes Among an Ethnically Diverse Sample of Women. Arch Sex Behav 47, 715–723 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-017-1121-3

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Keywords

  • Body image
  • Body appreciation
  • Sexual behavior
  • Sexual health