University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-206
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Jul 2009


Objectives: To explore teenagers' beliefs about emergency contraception EC within a Theory of Planned Behaviour TPB framework. Methods: Six single sex focus groups comprising a total of 25 female and 23 male pupils aged 1316 years conducted in schools in Central England. Results: Attitudes to emergency contraception EC were mainly positive about the rewards of avoiding teenage pregnancy. Participants had positive beliefs about the effectiveness of EC, although knowledge of crucial time limits varied. EC use was more socially acceptable than teenage pregnancy, yet both outcomes were perceived negatively. Motivation to comply with social pressure was influenced by the appraisal of individuals' intentions. Participants reported high self efficacy in accessing EC, but had concerns over confidentiality and access. Conclusions: Desire to avoid pregnancy was high in this group, but practical factors and attitudes may be more important for those ambivalent about pregnancy. Adolescents perceive accessing EC as difficult, are concerned about confidentiality, and anticipate negative reactions from staff. Data support the TPB as a suitable framework for understanding attitudes to EC use. Further research should apply quantitative TPB measures to EC use in a wider teenage sample in order to identify potential psychological factors to target in an intervention.

ID: 17731256