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

The XX Factor
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

Culturebox

The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers

Education

Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
  Life
Dear Prudence
Oct. 23 2014 6:00 AM Monster Kids from poorer neighborhoods keep coming to trick-or-treat in mine. Do I have to give them candy?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 8:51 AM The Male-Dominated Culture of Business in Tech Is Not Great for Women
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 23 2014 9:00 AM Exclusive Premiere: Key & Peele Imagines the Dark Side of the Make-A-Wish Program
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.