Does distance matter? Access to Family Planning Clinics and adolescent sexual behaviors

Melina Bersamin, Michael Todd, Lillian Remer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The study examines the relationship between adolescent geographic access (distance, travel time, density) to Family Planning Clinics and adolescent sexual behaviors, including sexual initiation, number of partners and condom use. This cross-sectional study, conducted in 2005 in 10 California counties, utilized data from NICHDfunded study on adolescent sexual behavior (n = 921), geospatial coordinates of publicly-funded FPCs, and neighborhood characteristics. A series of regression models were used to assess the relationship between FPC distance, and density (number of FPCs within 1-and 3-mile radii of each adolescent's home), and adolescent sexual behaviors. Significant main effects between access measures of FPC and sexual behavior did not emerge. However, among older youth a significant inverse relationship emerged between number of FPCs within a 1-mile radius and initiating sexual intercourse. While not significant at a = .10, the results also indicate a negative relationship between density of FPCs and sexual partners (b = -.22, p<.15) among older youth. Access to FPCs was not associated with condom use. Conclusions: Results suggest that increased options for family planning services may lead to less risky sexual behaviors among older youth. This finding has significant implications with regards to making family planning resources more readily available to older adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)652-659
Number of pages8
JournalMaternal and child health journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescence
  • Family planning
  • GIS
  • Sexual behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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