Divorce and Contraception

A recent study published in the Journal for Divorce and Remarriage examined the connection between the use of birth control and marriage dissolution. Also, the authors of the study analyzed the influence of the use of methods of Natural Family Planning on divorce. The sample size was a total of 5,403 ever-married women from the National Survey of Family Growth in the years 2015 to 2019. Statistic analysis of divorce was calculated for the family planning variables (ever-use vs. never-use). The study also examined the influence of family planning methods relative to other known factors involved with divorce such as income, education level, etc.

The results of the study indicated that the use of contraception was associated with increased odds of divorce, from 30% to 200%, whereas ever-use of NFP was associated with a 31% lower probability. Users of hormonal oral contraceptives (the combined pill or mini pill) divorced at a rate 54% above the study average. Sterilization was the birth control method that had the highest probability of divorce. Women who had a tubal ligation divorced at a rate 78% above the study average and the probability of divorce doubled in men with vasectomies. Condom use was associated with 67% above the average divorce rate. 

In contrast, users of methods of Natural Family Planning were 31% less likely to divorce than the study average. Other risk factors such as poverty level and education levels did not meaningfully influence the probability of divorce.

The authors of the study concluded that “ever-married women who have ever used NFP have lower odds of divorce, whereas those who have ever used most the common contraceptives have higher odds of divorce. More research is needed to understand how and why choices in family planning affect the stability of marriage.”

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