Research Project

Contraceptive use and non-use among young South African women

Social epidemiologist Abigail Harrison conducts research on young women’s reproductive decision-making and HIV risk, including contraceptive use and unintended pregnancy. This project investigates women's lived experiences of contraceptive use and non-use through in-depth interviews with young women aged 18-28 years in Cape Town, South Africa, with a specific focus on the concept of 'unmet need' for contraception. The interviews focus on issues of agency, decision making, and personal understandings and motivations for contraceptive use. A second part of the study focuses on a systematic review of the demographic literature on unmet need for contraception, with the aim of critiquing commonly used tools and measures. This collaborative research is carried out in partnership with co-investigators from the U.S. and South Africa, as well as a graduate student from the University of Cape Town and two from Brown: PSTC Trainee Kira DiClemente (Public Health) and Sarena Hayer, a medical student.