Background: To generalize the concept of gap length between partners and estimate the duration of four types of measures for heterosexual partnerships, called status lengths: 1) time spent as single before becoming monogamous (S-M, positive gap), 2) duration of concurrency before monogamy (C-M, negative gap), 3) duration of monogamy before concurrency (M-C), and 4) time spent in monogamy before becoming single (M-S).
Methods: Medians and confidence intervals were obtained using the United States National Survey of Family Growth Cycle 6 conducted in 2002.
Results: Results found a significant gender difference in the monogamous to single status length (medians 38 for females, and 19.3 mo. for males). Other status lengths were similar between genders (S-M: 20 females, 18 males; M-C: 16 females, 13 males; and C-M: 5 for both females and males). Respondents younger than the median age at first marriage showed shorter status lengths compared to older ones. Median status lengths were comparable between heterosexuals and bisexuals. Percentage of concurrency in one year was 3.3% for females and 3.8% for males.
Conclusions: One of new status length (M-C) qualitatively indicates the transmission risk to an upcoming concurrent partner. The set of four status lengths may be useful in the context of epidemiological models with partnership dynamics.
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