Volume 6 - 2002

Comparative Study of Contraceptive Attitudes of Male and Female College Students

Meagan Koehler

A variety of factors affect young adults’ decisions to use safe sex methods, particularly the use of condoms. This study was conducted to examine attitudes and uses of safe sex practices relative to relationship commitment. Participants were 100 college students, 50 of whom were men. Each was asked to complete a questionnaire consisting of scales measuring condom use and views towards contraceptive use, self-efficacy, and sexual activity history. Participants also evaluated the pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease (STD) risks of hypothetical couples varying in level of relationship commitment (casually dating or committed). Results indicated that when presented with a hypothetical situation, participants were more willing to accept pregnancy and STD risks within a committed relationship than between a casually dating couple. Additionally, men accepted more pregnancy and STD risks than did women. Women scored higher in sexual permissiveness, instrumentality, condom use, and self-preference in contraception choice than did men. Overall, it appears that young adults, especially men, involved in committed relationships may not take appropriate safe sex precautions. Of concern is the emergence of a false sense of immunity from STD exposure and unplanned pregnancies as dating relationships move toward monogamy.

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