Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Jane M. Georges, PhD, RN, Chairperson Joseph F. Burkard, DNSc, CRNA Kathy Shadle James, DNSc, FNP, FAAN


Intention, Military, Practical Knowledge, Unintended, Unintended Pregnancy


Nearly half of the 6.7 million pregnancies in the United States each year are unintended. The U.S. unintended pregnancy rate is significantly higher than the rate in many other developed countries. By age 45, more than half of all American women will have experienced an unintended pregnancy, and three in ten will have had an abortion. Previous empirical research aimed to fix the rate of unintended pregnancy before it was adequately explored. The rationale for this study emanated from the belief that interventions intended to reduce the rate of unintended pregnancy will be more successful if the essence of unintended pregnancy is better understood. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to generate skepticism about accepted meanings and interpretations concerning unintended pregnancy and to critique ideologies that distort those meanings and interpretations. The rate of unintended pregnancy for women in the U.S. military, using the most conservative measure, is 50% higher than rates of unintended pregnancy among similarly aged women in the general, non military, public. Using a critical hermeneutic philosophical approach, this study used the lived experience, as described by servicewomen who faced an unintended pregnancy, as a tool for better understanding the social, cultural, political, and historical context in which that pregnancy occurred. Findings suggest that women at risk for unintended pregnancy may not have the practical knowledge to critically think about their own sexual practices, may have a poor appreciation of their sexual selves, and may fear moral judgment for acknowledging any sexual behaviors.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access



Included in

Nursing Commons