Unintended pregnancy and intimate partner violence before and during pregnancy among Latina women in Los Angeles, California

Kathryn R. Martin, Lorena Garcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


The purpose of this paper was to examine the relationship between unintended pregnancy and intimate partner violence (IPV) before and during pregnancy among Latinas. A cross-sectional interview measuring pregnancy intent, IPV, and acculturation, using the Acculturation Rating Scale for Mexican Americans (ARSMA-II), was conducted among Latina women in their 2nd or 3rd trimester of pregnancy at clinics in Los Angeles (n = 313). Overall, 44% of women reported an unintended pregnancy. The prevalence of physical (any) and emotional (only) abuse 12 months before pregnancy was 11% and 22%, respectively. Although both types of IPV decreased during pregnancy (10% and 19%, respectively), most reports of physical IPV during pregnancy (53%) were among women who did not report physical abuse before pregnancy. After adjusting for other factors, physical IPV before pregnancy was not associated with unintended pregnancy (adjusted OR = 0.92; 95% CI = 0.40, 2.16). The prevalence of unintended pregnancy was highest (76%) among highly acculturated Latinas. However, when an unintended pregnancy occurred among less acculturated Latinas, who comprised the majority of the sample (n = 270), it was associated with greater risk of physical IPV during pregnancy (unadjusted OR = 2.57; 95% CI = 1.06, 6.23); although the confidence interval included one after adjusting for other factors (adjusted OR = 2.79; 95% CI = 0.98, 7.92). An unintended pregnancy may have a unique impact on relationships in the context of Latino culture, where family and pregnancy are highly valued. Pregnancy often creates an opportunity for providers to discuss issues related to abuse and family planning with women who do not regularly access care. The results from this study may be used to increase the cultural sensitivity with which violence and reproductive health are addressed among the diverse population of Latinas when they connect with prenatal services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1157-1175
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number6
StatePublished - Apr 2011



  • acculturation
  • California
  • Hispanic
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Latino
  • Los Angeles
  • reproductive health
  • unintended pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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