• Article

Trends in Adolescent Males' Abortion Attitudes, 1988-1995: Differences by Race and Ethnicity

Context: Studying how adolescent males view abortion and how their attitudes toward abortion have changed over time can improve our understanding of the sexual, contraceptive and abortion behavior of these males and their partners. Methods: Data from the 1988 and 1995 National Survey of Adolescent Males are used to describe changes in young males' attitudes toward abortion over time, as well as differences in abortion attitudes by race and ethnicity. Multivariate models are used to examine the relationship between religiosity and abortion attitudes. Results: Between 1988 and 1995, young males' approval of abortion decreased significantly. In 1995, 24% of U.S. males aged 15-19 agreed that it was all right for a women to have an abortion 'for any reason,' down from 37% in 1988. This decrease was driven almost entirely by non-Hispanic white males; there was little change in the abortion attitudes of non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics. The decrease in white males' approval of abortion coincides with a significant increase in the self-reported importance of religion and in the proportion of whites who identified themselves as born-again Christians. The proportion of non-Hispanic white males indicating that religion was very important increased from 28% in 1988 to 34% in 1995, while the proportion identifying themselves as born-again increased from 18% to 24%. Multivariate analyses indicate that religiosity was more strongly related to the abortion attitudes of non-Hispanic whites than to those of Hispanics or non-Hispanic blacks. Conclusions: The large decrease in approval of abortion among white teenage males has closed the racial and ethnic gap in attitudes toward abortion that was evident in 1988, when such youth held significantly more liberal attitudes toward abortion than did either Hispanics or blacks. This trend toward more conservative abortion-related attitudes among whites coincides with increasingly conservative attitudes regarding premarital sex and greater religiosity among white male adolescents


Boggess, S., & Bradner, C. (2000). Trends in Adolescent Males' Abortion Attitudes, 1988-1995: Differences by Race and Ethnicity. Family Planning Perspectives, 32(3), 118-123.