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Adolescence. 1997 Winter;32(128):771-9.

Condom and other contraceptive use among a random sample of female adolescents: a snapshot in time.

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  • 1University of Alabama at Birmingham, School of Public Health, Department of Health Behavior 35294, USA.


This study examined the sexual practices of 235 females aged 15 to 19 years and their readiness to use specific contraceptive methods for birth control and sexually transmitted disease (STD) prevention. The investigation was based on the stages-of-change construct from the Transtheoretical Model (Prochaska & DiClemente, 1983, 1984). Results demonstrated that despite the availability of newer contraceptive methods (e.g., Depo-Provera), most sexually active adolescents were least resistant to using condoms and were further along in the stages of change for condom use as compared with other contraceptive methods. Moreover, the females perceived the male condom as an acceptable method for prevention of both pregnancy and STDs. These findings suggest that interventions designed to target consistent and correct condom use may result in better compliance, reducing the number of unintended pregnancies and STD cases among this populations.


The Transtheoretical Model's stages-of-change construct was used to investigate the sexual practices of 235 females 15-19 years of age from New York State (US) and their willingness to use specific contraceptive methods for the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). 121 adolescents (52%) had experienced vaginal intercourse and 97 (80%) reported vaginal sex in the 3 months preceding the study. 20 sexually inactive teens (18%) were seriously thinking about initiating sexual activity within the next 6 months. Among teens who had been sexually active in the last 6 months, 64 (66%) had used the male condom and 19 (20%) were taking the pill; another 9 (9%) used no method. Most adolescents were less resistant to condom use than use of other methods and further along in the stages of change. Among the 32 teens who were not currently using condoms consistently, 12 had no intention to use this method with their main partner within the next 6 months (precontemplation), 2 intended to start condom use within the next 6 months (contemplation), and 18 intended to start using condoms in the next 30 days (preparation). The male condom was perceived as effective for both pregnancy and STD prevention. Although the male condom may be less effective than some methods for pregnancy prevention (primarily because of user failure), interventions that target consistent, correct condom use may be most suitable for adolescents.

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