Family formation in the inner city: Low-income men's perception of their role in unplanned conception and pregnancy prevention

Emily Jackson, Alison Karasz, Marji Gold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


Purpose. Research documents the importance of partners in women's contraception use, pregnancy prevention/planning, and decision-making around unintended pregnancy. Little is known of men's perceptions of this crucial role. Methods. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews (n520) with low-income, inner-city men, aged 18-45 years, who had brought about a pregnancy. Results. Responsibility framed men's understanding of their reproductive and parenting roles. Uniformly, men equated being responsible with providing financially for their families. Interpretations of being responsible evolved over men's reproductive lifetimes, influencing their perceived role in planning or preventing pregnancy, and consideration of abortion for unplanned pregnancies. The desire to take responsibility for children they fathered was limited by the structural realities of these men's lives, which were often characterized by poverty, unemployment, violence, and crime. Conclusions. Though financial responsibility is highly valued, poverty and related social factors are significant barriers to men's ability to achieve this goal. Discussions with men about family planning should reflect these realities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-82
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2011



  • Family planning
  • Men's reproductive health
  • Underserved population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this