Young Women Are Less Likely to Use Condoms if Their Boyfriends Give Them Money

What Women Really Think
March 1 2012 11:53 AM

Want to Get Young Women to Use Condoms? Give Them Money.

110598602
100 dollar bills.

Photo by LUIS ROBAYO/AFP/Getty Images

There's a new study from the Journal of Adolescent Health that shows that teenage girls whose primary source of spending money is a boyfriend are less likely to use condoms by a significant margin. The data—which was taken from a longitudinal study of 715 African American teens in Atlanta—also shows that young women are less likely to use condoms if their boyfriend has a car.

The idea that women who are financially reliant on their boyfriends would be more susceptible to coercion isn't that surprising. But what's particularly notable about the study is that the socioeconomic status of a teenager's family had no impact on whether they would use condoms. Whether or not a teenager used condoms was all based on their personal "human and financial capital," which the study defines as level of education and employment status. This jibes with another young women and condom study that showed college age women were less likely to use condoms as their freshman year went on if they had lower high-school GPAs or lower socioeconomic status.

Advertisement

There's evidence that if teenage boys are given greater access to condoms they are more likely to use them. But the same doesn't hold for teenage girls. The study from the Journal of Adolescent Health points to a randomized experiment in Africa, which showed that "providing money to young women decreases sexual risk-taking." Which is to say: the way to get these young women to protect their sexual health is not through free condoms or a stern talking-to. The way to reach them might be as simple as giving them cold, hard, cash.

Jessica Grose is a frequent Slate contributor and the author of the novel Sad Desk Salad. Follow her on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

War Stories

The Right Target

Why Obama’s airstrikes against ISIS may be more effective than people expect.

The One National Holiday Republicans Hope You Forget

It’s Legal for Obama to Bomb Syria Because He Says It Is

I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights

Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.

Should You Recline Your Seat? Two Economists Weigh In.

Doublex

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Or, why it is very, very stupid to compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice.

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

Why Is This Mother in Prison for Helping Her Daughter Get an Abortion?

Use Facebook to Reconnect With Old Friends, Share Photos, and Serve People With Legal Papers

  News & Politics
Foreigners
Sept. 23 2014 6:40 PM Coalition of the Presentable Don’t believe the official version. Meet America’s real allies in the fight against ISIS.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 23 2014 2:08 PM Home Depot’s Former Lead Security Engineer Had a Legacy of Sabotage
  Life
Outward
Sept. 23 2014 1:57 PM Would a Second Sarkozy Presidency End Marriage Equality in France?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 2:32 PM Politico Asks: Why Is Gabby Giffords So “Ruthless” on Gun Control?
  Slate Plus
Political Gabfest
Sept. 23 2014 3:04 PM Chicago Gabfest How to get your tickets before anyone else.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 8:38 PM “No One in This World” Is One of Kutiman’s Best, Most Impressive Songs
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 23 2014 5:36 PM This Climate Change Poem Moved World Leaders to Tears Today
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 23 2014 4:33 PM Who Deserves Those 4 Inches of Airplane Seat Space? An investigation into the economics of reclining.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 23 2014 7:27 PM You’re Fired, Roger Goodell If the commissioner gets the ax, the NFL would still need a better justice system. What would that look like?