Adolescent contraceptive use: toward a more integrated model

Blodgett, Julia Ann-Deisseroth, Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Virginia
Sheras, Peter, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Abidin, Richard, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Loyd, Brenda, University of Virginia
Sisson, Shamin, University of Virginia

A review of the literature on adolescent sexual behavior, particularly as it relates to contraceptive use, reveals no unitary key to understanding why teenagers place themselves at risk for unwanted pregnancy. Though numerous attitudinal and behavioral correlates of female contraceptive use have been determined, few studies have examined these correlates in an integrated fashion. Little research has been done on male contraceptive use. This study looks at contraceptive use -- and other aspects of sexual behavior -- more comprehensively. This study compares male and female sexual behavior and examines the relationship between contraceptive use and such variables as acceptance of one's sexuality, self-efficacy/ responsibility, and self-esteem.

Two-hundred forty-seven students at a private school in the Northeast completed a confidential, self-report questionnaire assessing contraceptive and other sexual behaviors and hypothesized related traits. The results of the study reveal no significant differences between males and females in their contraceptive use or in such sexual behaviors as age at first intercourse or number of partners. Differences do appear to exist between males and females in sexual attitudes and values. It was possible to distinguish between virgins and nonvirgins, and between contraceptors and noncontraceptors, on the basis of their self-esteem, contraceptive self-efficacy, contraceptive locus of control, and acceptance of sexuality. Acceptance of sexuality accounted for the most variance in these analyses. The results are discussed in the context of previous findings. Possibilities for future research and intervention are explored.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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