A health belief model of condom use was used to identify factors associated with condom use in 390 sexually active female adolescents, aged 12 through 19 years, recruited at the time of a visit for reproductive health care. Fifty-six percent were white and the remainder black. Nineteen percent had genitourinary infections with Chlamydia trachomatis. Forty-six percent reported having had more than one sexual partner in the preceding year. Reported condom use for at least one specific reason (prevention of pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) increased as behavioral, emotional, and sexually transmitted disease risk decreased, and as cognitive maturity and positive condom attitudes increased. Although uses of condoms to prevent pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, and acquired immunode-ficiency syndrome were positively intercorrelated, each made a contribution to explaining condom use at most recent coitus (odds ratios 2.95, 3.96, and 2.81, respectively). After statistical adjustment for the reported reasons for previous condom use, behavioral risk was the only additional factor associated with condom use at the most recent sexual encounter; women who participated in more risk behaviors (substance and alcohol use and minor delinquency) were less likely to have used a condom (odds ratio 0.61). Knowledge about sexually transmitted disease and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, and concurrent use of contraceptive pills, were not related to condom practices. The data suggest that adolescents' perceptions about condoms, including the individual functions of condoms for contraception and for prevention of sexually transmitted disease, may be important in determining their use. Engaging in unprotected intercourse may be part of a larger behavioral domain that includes other unhealthy behaviors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health