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Pediatr Emerg Care. 2012 Aug;28(8):775-9. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e3182627d14.

Attitudes and knowledge regarding emergency contraception among emergency department adolescents and providers.

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  • 1Division of Emergency Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH 45229, USA.



Teen pregnancy is a public health issue in the United States. Emergency contraception (EC) has the potential to reduce teen pregnancy rates. The use of EC remains controversial, and barriers have been identified for adolescents seeking care. The objective of this study was to evaluate similarities and differences of knowledge and attitudes regarding EC among pediatric emergency department (PED) female adolescents, nurses, and physicians/nurse practitioners (NPs).


A quantitative survey including demographics, knowledge, and attitudes regarding EC was administered to 3 groups: (1) PED nurses, (2) PED physicians and NPs, and (3) adolescent female patients seeking care in the PED. Demographic data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Differences between groups were analyzed using Student t test for continuous variables and χ or Fisher exact test for categorical variables. Attitude and knowledge differences among the groups were analyzed using the nonparametric Wilcoxon test.


There was no difference in overall knowledge regarding EC between nurses and physicians/NPs, adolescents and nurses or adolescents and physicians/NPs, and overall knowledge was poor among all groups. There was no difference in overall attitudes between nurses and adolescents; however, physicians were more liberal in their attitudes regarding EC compared with adolescents (P < 0.0001) and nurses (P < 0.0001). Older age trended toward more conservative responses (P = 0.05).


Adolescents and nurses had more conservative attitudes toward EC than physicians. Further studies are needed to confirm the generalizability of these findings.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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