Like a virgin (mother): Analysis of data from a longitudinal, US population representative sample survey

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Objective To estimate the incidence of self report of pregnancy without sexual intercourse (virgin pregnancy) and factors related to such reporting, in a population representative group of US adolescents and young adults. Design Longitudinal, population representative sample survey. Setting Nationally representative, multiethnic National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, United States. Participants 7870 women enrolled at wave I (1995) and completing the most recent wave of data collection (wave IV; 2008-09). Main outcome measures Self reports of pregnancy and birth without sexual intercourse. Results 45 women (0.5%) reported at least one virgin pregnancy unrelated to the use of assisted reproductive technology. Although it was rare for dates of sexual initiation and pregnancy consistent with virgin pregnancy to be reported, it was more common among women who signed chastity pledges or whose parents indicated lower levels of communication with their children about sex and birth control. Conclusions Around 0.5% of women consistently affirmed their status as virgins and did not use assisted reproductive technology, yet reported virgin births. Even with numerous enhancements and safeguards to optimize reporting accuracy, researchers may still face challenges in the collection and analysis of self reported data on potentially sensitive topics.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Herring, AH; Attard, SM; Gordon-Larsen Prof., P; Joyner, WH; Halpern Prof., CT

Published Date

  • December 17, 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 347 /

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1756-1833

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1136/bmj.f7102

Citation Source

  • Scopus