The Role of Previous Contraception Education and Moral Judgment in Contraceptive Use

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The knowledge and attitudes that lead to nonuse of contraception are not well understood. The goal of this study was to determine whether an association exists between contraceptive use and specific knowledge and attitudinal factors.


We conducted a secondary analysis of data from a nationally representative telephone survey of 897 unmarried women aged 18 to 29 years to examine the relationship between contraceptive use and comprehensive sex education, attitude toward pregnancy prevention, perceived infertility, distrust toward the health care system or contraception, and moral attitude toward contraception.


Both ever having made a visit to a physician or clinic for women's health care and ever having used any method of contraception to prevent pregnancy were significantly impacted by more comprehensive sex education and less likelihood to view contraception as morally wrong. Consistent with other research, we found no association between the desire to avoid pregnancy and contraceptive use. We found an association between health system distrust and contraceptive use, but health system distrust did not predict contraceptive use.


Our findings show that contraceptive use among a sample of young women is influenced by previous contraceptive education and moral attitudes toward contraception. Clinicians should be cognizant of these realities, which may need to be addressed in both clinical and nonclinical venues.

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