Using Cognitive Dissonance Theory to Examine Fears and Contraceptive Non-Use regarding Premarital Sex in Cebu Young Adults

Subasri Narasimhan, University of California, Los Angeles
Sonny A. Bechayda, University of San Carlos
Josephine L. Avila, University of San Carlos
Jessica D. Gipson, University of California, Los Angeles

Metro Cebu is an urban region of Philippines undergoing rapid sociocultural shifts. Some studies have examined the demographic correlates of sexual behavior. However, no studies have contextualized the experience of premarital sex for young adults in this region. Forty-eight in-depth interviews were conducted with young adults participating in the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey (CLHNS) who were selected as part of an ongoing study by Gipson et al. (2014). Interviews were coded in NVivo 10 software using constant comparative method. Most respondents described their first premarital sex as spontaneous and anxiety-producing, rather than planned or pleasurable. Major fears included relationship dissolution and unintended pregnancy. Despite respondents’ perceptions of severe risks of physical and social consequences associated with sex and pregnancy, they did not alter their contraceptive or sexual behavior accordingly. Further analysis will apply the Theory of Cognitive Dissonance and describe reasons for these gaps in order to inform future policies and programs.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session P3. Fertility Intentions and Behaviors