Date of Award

Winter 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Director

James F. Paulson

Committee Member

Scott Debb

Committee Member

Alex Dryden

Committee Member

Kathrin Hartmann

Committee Member

Barbara Winstead


This study investigated the effect of Latina gender role beliefs, or marianismo beliefs, on risk for unintended pregnancy by examining contraceptive method use in Latina young adults. Acculturation and depression were also examined as moderators of the association between marianismo and contraceptive method choice, as well as separately for their effects on contraceptive use. Unmarried, nulliparous Latina women aged 18-24 (N = 142) were recruited through online social media platforms. Data were collected in the United States in July 2017. Logistic regression analyses were performed to distinguish between women who utilized more effective v. less effective contraceptive methods in the past three months. Results indicated that Negative Marianismo Beliefs, including beliefs associated with virtuosity, subordination to men, and self-silencing, demonstrated a trend toward association with less effective contraceptive use. Positive Marianismo Beliefs, including beliefs associated with family and spiritual leadership, and marianismo beliefs overall, were not associated with contraceptive use. Acculturation was not associated with contraceptive use in logistic regression analyses; however, non-US birthplace showed a marginal correlation with less effective condom use specifically. Young women with depression in the present study were not more likely to use less effective contraception. An interaction effect with depression at the trend level suggested that women were likely to use contraception less effectively if they reported low levels of depression and high levels of Negative Marianismo Beliefs. Those reporting high levels of depression were no more likely to use contraception effectively if they had low or high levels of Negative Marianismo Beliefs. This study provides preliminary evidence that traditional gender role beliefs may impact Latina young women’s risk for unintended pregnancy. The findings also highlight the importance of cultural beliefs and values to sexual health outcomes.


The VIRGINIA CONSORTIUM PROGRAM IN CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY is a joint program of Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk State University, and Old Dominion University.


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