Gender differences in knowledge, intentions, and behaviors concerning pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease prevention among adolescents.J Adolesc Health 1992; 13(7):589-99JA
Gender differences in knowledge, intentions, and behaviors regarding preventing pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases were studied. Data for the study were collected from 1,033 students in 13 California high schools. Females in this sample were more likely than males to have discussed sexuality topics with parents, to have engaged in sexual intercourse more frequently, to have experienced a pregnancy scare, to have used oral contraceptives during their last sexual encounter, to perceive that a larger proportion of their peers were engaging in sex and using birth control, to obtain birth control from health facilities, and to report intentions to abstain or use protection in hypothetical situations placing them at risk for unprotected sex. In contrast, males reported that they were more likely to have always used birth control, to have used birth control during their first sexual encounter, and to have used a condom during their last sexual encounter. Furthermore, males were more likely to obtain birth control from a store or a friend. Finally, males knew more about using condoms correctly and their role in preventing sexually transmitted diseases. The efficacy of interventions designed to reduce unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases among adolescents may be increased by addressing these gender differences. Understanding gender differences may also facilitate an increased role for males in the overall prevention scheme. Further research is clearly needed to increase knowledge about these gender differences.