Religion and contraceptive use among female high school students: the case of Ribeirao das Neves, Brazil

Paula Miranda-Ribeiro, Cedeplar, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
Eduardo L. G. Rios-Neto, Cedeplar, UFMG

Brazil has experienced important changes in religious affiliation in the last four decades. In 1970, 92% of the population declared to be Catholic. Thirty years later, the proportion had fallen to nearly 74%. The proportion of Pentecostals almost tripled (5% to 15%), whereas those who declared to have no religion raised from 1% to 7%. Ribeirão das Neves had 296,000 inhabitans in 2010 and was the second poorest municipality of the Belo Horizonte Metropolitan Region, state of Minas Gerais. Its population was less Catholic than the overall Brazilian population and there was an overrepresentation of Evangelicals. The data analyzed in this study come from the longitudinal sample survey Pesquisa Jovem (Youth Survey), conducted from 2007 to 2010 in several municipalities of Minas Gerais. The research methodology consisted of three consecutive years of interviews with a representative sample of adolescents, all of whom were enrolled in their first year of high school within the state education system at the start of the study. Our analysis concentrates on females 16-21 years-old, not in union, interviewed in the third wave of the first cohort, for which data collection occurred in November 2009 (n=386). Descriptive statistics indicate that pill use is higher among committed Neopentecostals and those who declare no religious affiliation. Occasional Catholics and occasional Neopentecostals are less likely to use any contraceptive method. Committed Catholics and committed Pentecostals are more likely to use condoms and less likely to use the pill; therefore, they are more protected from STIs, including HIV/Aids. Preliminary logistic regression results suggest that female students who attend services regularly are 44% less likely to have used condom in their last sexual intercourse if compared to those who rarely attend services.

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Presented in Poster Session 3

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