Background Inaccurate perceptions about sexual partner concurrency are associated with current STI status. While high STI rates are reported among pregnant adolescents, studies have not investigated the accuracy of perceptions about sexual concurrency among young expecting couples nor explored factors related to inaccurate perceptions. Without open communication, individuals may inaccurately assume their partner's behaviour is like their own. The objectives of this analysis were to assess the accuracy of perceptions about sexual concurrency among pregnant adolescents and their partners and whether self-reported concurrency is related to the accuracy of perceptions.
Methods Pregnant adolescent couples (N=258) were recruited from antenatal clinics as part of a larger study. Couples included pregnant women, 14–21 years, romantically involved with the father of the baby, ≥14 years. Sociodemographic, psychosocial and sexual behaviour data were collected from each member of the couple via ACASI. κ statistics assessed the accuracy of perceptions about partner concurrency during the relationship. Respondents who were uncertain about their partner's concurrency (n=58) were excluded from the kappa calculations. Multivariable logistic regression using generalised estimating equations assessed the associations between the respondent's self-reported concurrency and the accuracy of their perceptions about partner concurrency.
Results A total of 162 (81%) males and 146 (85%) females accurately reported their partner's nonconcurrency, but only 40% of males and 43% of females accurately reported the partner's concurrency (Abstract P2-S1.14 table 1). Overall, the accuracy of perceptions about concurrency was moderate (κ 0.41 for males, 0.49 for females). Adjusting for age, gender and partnership duration, respondents who self-reported non-concurrency were 54% less likely to accurately report their partner's concurrency (p=0.061). Respondents who self-reported concurrency were 81% less likely to accurately report their partner's non-concurrency (p<0.001).
Conclusions Among pregnant adolescents and their partners, there were many inaccurate perceptions about partner sexual concurrency. More than half did not accurately report their partner's sexual concurrency, which may increase their STI risk. Respondents' personal concurrency was associated with inaccurate perceptions about their partners' concurrency, reinforcing the need to improve sexual communication among young expecting parents.