The Next Frontier for Men’s Contraceptive Choice: College Men’s Willingness to Pursue Male Hormonal Contraception

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Abstract

Unplanned pregnancy is a concern for emerging adult men, but their contraceptive options are limited. With male hormonal contraception clinical trials in progress, it is important to investigate men’s attitudes toward alternative contraception. Many social factors, such as masculine norms, may hinder their interest. This study used the prototype–willingness model to investigate college men’s willingness to pursue hormonal contraception. Male college students (N = 160; Mage = 19.37, SD = 1.33; 61.9% White) read a description of male contraception clinical trials and filled out a questionnaire assessing prototype–willingness and masculinity constructs. Multinomial logistic regression revealed that men perceiving greater male contraceptive use and more favorable prototypes of a typical user had higher odds of having high willingness compared with no willingness (norms: odds ratio [OR] = 29.78, 95% confidence interval [CI] [5.79, 153.18]; prototypes: OR = 3.93, 95% CI [1.96, 7.87]). Men rating higher avoidance of femininity had lower odds of having high willingness compared with no willingness (OR = .60, 95% CI [.40, .92]). Perceived risk of unplanned pregnancy failed to associate with willingness to use contraception, suggesting the importance of men’s social cognitions (norms and favorable images) and identity (masculinity) when promoting male hormonal contraception. Men’s avoidance of femininity may hinder their willingness, but promotion of male norms and favorable male users may enhance clinical trial recruitment and eventual public health campaigns to expand men’s contraceptive options. Future studies should examine diverse college and noncollege samples to determine the generalizability of these results to the broader emerging adult male population.

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