Who’s the Decider? How Different Dimensions of Power Are Related to Partner Belief about Control over the Couple’s Method Choice
Lisa Cubbins, Battelle- Centers for Public Health Research and Evaluation
Lucy Jordan, Battelle- Centers for Public Health Research and Evaluation
Virginia E. Rutter, Framingham State College
Koray Tanfer, Battelle- Centers for Public Health Research and Evaluation
A defining characteristic of most research on fertility regulation is women’s primacy in contraception decision making. With the growth of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, there has been greater emphasis on understanding men’s roles in the reproductive health of couples. This shift has led to a developing body of research directed at men, but has been less successful in generating research based on couples, where reports are obtained from both partners. This paper uses data from a new large-scale survey of married, cohabiting, and dating heterosexual couples in the United States (n=930) to examine whether who makes the contraceptive decisions in a couple is related to partner differences along various dimensions of power including status characteristics (age, education, personal income), gender role ideology, relationship commitment, and relationship alternatives. Preliminary analyses suggest that partners’ relative power does influence perceptions about who primarily makes the contraceptive decisions in a relationship.