University of Vermont

Office of Health Promotion Research

OHPR Abstract 38

Abstract 1990-1999

Detzer MJ, Wendt SJ, Solomon LJ, Dorsch E, Geller BM, Friedman J, Hauser H, Flynn BS, Dorwaldt AL. Barriers to condom use among women attending planned parenthood clinics. Women Health. 1995;23(1):91-102.

Assessed condom use, barriers to condom use, oral contraceptive use, partnership status and STD history in 457 15-30 year-old women attending four family planning clinics. Subjects were classified into three condom use groups: Non Users (37%); Current Users (33%); and Past Users (30%). Factor analysis revealed five barriers to condom use: Partner's Perception, Peer's Perception, Pleasure/Intimacy, Communication, and Low Perceived Need. Multivariate analyses revealed significant group differences on only two barrier factors: Pleasure/Intimacy and Low Perceived Need. Low Perceived Need accounted for 13.5% of the variance in condom use. Women with low perceived need to use condoms were more likely to use oral contraceptives.

PIP: A survey of 457 female clients, 15-30 years old, recruited from 4 Vermont (US) Planned Parenthood clinics in 1990 identified low perceived need as a significant barrier to condom use. Although study subjects averaged 2.5 sexual partners in the preceding 2 years and 21.6% had a history of a sexually transmitted disease (STD), condoms were used an average of only 1.1 times out of the last 5 acts of intercourse. 37% of the clients had never used condoms, 30% were past users, and 33% had used condoms at least once during their last 5 sexual encounters. 82.1% of study subjects were current oral contraceptive (OC) users. Discriminant analysis identified 6 obstacles that predicted, cumulatively, 21.5% of the condom use category variance: low perceived need (13.5%), use of the pill (4.0%), number of sexual partners in the past 2 years (1.9%), age (0.8%), education (0.8%), and pleasure/intimacy (0.5%). These variables correctly identified 71% of condom nonusers, 65% of current users, and 18% of past users. When women were crudely divided into 2 categories based on estimated actual risk for STDs, there was no difference between the high and low risk groups in terms of perceived need score or condom use category. In addition, low perceived need was unrelated to knowledge, number of sexual partners, STD history, age, or education. There was, however, a positive association between low perceived need and OC use. These family planning clinic clients appear to be focused almost exclusively on pregnancy prevention rather than on a strategy that would confer simultaneous protection against STDs.

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