Aug. 8 (UPI) -- Young females are experiencing abuse from partners who want them to get pregnant, a study says.
About 17 percent of teens and young adults have suffered physical and sexual abuse as a form of reproductive coercion, according to research published in the August edition of Obstetrics Gynecology.
These females were likely to be abused by a partner more than five years older than they were, researchers say.
"We looked at whether adolescents who experience reproductive coercion displayed the 'red flags' we typically teach clinicians to look for -- like coming into the clinic multiple times for emergency contraception or pregnancy testing," Heather McCauley, a researcher at Michigan State University and study co-author, said in a news release. "We found no difference in care-seeking behaviors between girls who experienced reproductive coercion and girls who didn't, so those red flags may not be present. Therefore, clinicians should have conversations with all their adolescent patients about how relationships can impact their health."
The study is an analysis of 550 sexually active females between ages 14 and 19. This research uses data from a past randomized trial at eight health centers in schools around California between 2012 and 2013.
In all, the researchers found 1 in 8 females in the study experienced reproductive coercion. These teens and young adults were also four times more likely to face other types of coercion and abuse.
Other forms of abuse include puncturing condoms and threatening to break up with their female partner. And researchers found that black females were more likely than white females face this abuse.
The researchers hope this study could help young female victims become more comfortable talking with clinicians about abuse.
"These findings highlight how common reproductive coercion and other forms of abuse are in adolescent relationships, yet the signs of a teen's unhealthy relationship may be tricky for clinicians, parents and other adults to spot," McCauley said. "So, parents could open the door for their teen to disclose abuse by having a conversation with them about healthy and unhealthy relationship behaviors, including those that interfere with their decision making about their own reproductive health."