Parents of teen girls more accepting of birth control pills than other contraceptive methods

February 12, 2013 by Juliana Bunim

Parents are more accepting of their teenage daughters using birth control pills than any other form of contraception, including condoms, according to a recent study from UC San Francisco (UCSF).

The most effective , the implant – a matchstick-sized rod that is inserted in the arm to prevent pregnancy – and the intrauterine device (IUD), were acceptable to a minority of parents.

Published in the February issue of the , the study examined parental acceptability of different contraceptives and explored factors that influence their attitudes.

A random sample of 261 parents/guardians with a daughter aged 12 to 17 was recruited from a clinical database from San Francisco General Hospital and and five Kaiser Northern California clinics where their daughters were patients.

The survey took into account the parents' perceptions of: their daughters' likelihood to have sex, their parenting beliefs, their own as teens, and their knowledge of sexually transmitted infections. The researchers then examined the influence of these factors on the parents' acceptability of seven contraceptive methods. Parents were asked the question, "If your teen's doctor found out your daughter was having sex, is it acceptable or unacceptable to you for the doctor to provide the following methods to your teen confidentially?"

Researchers found that parents had the highest acceptability for oral (59 percent), followed by condoms (51 percent), injectable (46 percent), (45 percent), transdermal patches (42 percent), implants (32 percent), and IUDs (18 percent). They also found that parents who perceived their teens as likely to have sex were more accepting of only condoms and emergency contraception, and not the full array of options. Parents who regularly attended religious services had a lower acceptance of emergency contraception.  

"Considering the fact that are our only method that protects these teenagers from sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, and because the condom seems less invasive than other forms of contraception, we were surprised they weren't accepted by a larger percentage," said Lauren Hartman, MD, a clinical fellow in the UCSF Department of Pediatrics and lead author of the study.

Despite being the "first-line recommendation" for teenagers by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the IUD remains less appealing to parents. The IUD is implanted in the uterus and releases small amounts of either copper or progesterone to prevent pregnancy.

"IUD acceptance is pretty congruent with what we see in our clinics," said Hartman. "They are safe and almost 100 percent effective at preventing pregnancy, so you would think it's an obvious method for people. But there are a lot of myths that they cause infection and infertility that remain from the old IUDs of the 1970s which may be influencing parents' perceptions."

Intrauterine Device (IUD).

The study begins to address the need to engage parents and consider the factors that influence parental acceptability of contraceptives offered to their adolescent children. The only predictor of acceptability across all methods was parental recognition of their teen's autonomy. "Clinicians can play an important role in supporting adolescents' transition into adulthood, which involves supporting them in taking greater responsibility in making decisions about their own health," said Hartman.

"Confidential time between the adolescent and clinician supports this transition as well as ensures that adolescents have access to needed services. Parents are also integral to their adolescents' health and their support of their teen's access to confidential health services is an important part of the health partnership," she said.

Explore further: Parents prefer some, often less-effective, birth control methods for teens

More information: www.sciencedirect.com/science/ … ii/S1054139X12002558

Related Stories

Parents prefer some, often less-effective, birth control methods for teens

September 7, 2012
Parents of teen girls are more ready to accept their daughters being offered birth control pills and condoms during doctor visits than other, more effective and long-acting contraceptive methods, according to a new study ...

When young women use hormonal contraceptives, condom use drops, study finds

October 9, 2012
Young women who start using hormonal contraceptives for birth control often stop using condoms, but a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health finds that if they later discontinue using hormonal contraceptives, they ...

More US teens postponing sex: study

May 3, 2012
More US teenagers are postponing sex than in 1995, and hormonal contraceptive use is up among those who are sexually active, said US health authorities on Thursday.

80 percent of US boys use condoms the first time

October 12, 2011
A surprising 80 percent of teenage boys say they are using condoms the first time they have sex, a government survey found in a powerful sign that decades of efforts to change young people's sexual behavior are taking hold.

Recommended for you

Brain disease seen in most football players in large report

July 25, 2017
Research on 202 former football players found evidence of a brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them, from athletes in the National Football League, college and even high school.

Safety of medical devices not often evaluated by sex, age, or race

July 25, 2017
Researchers at Yale and the University of California-San Francisco have found that few medical devices are analyzed to consider the influence of their users' sex, age, or race on safety and effectiveness.

Why you should consider more than looks when choosing a fitness tracker

July 25, 2017
A UNSW study of five popular physical activity monitors, including Fitbit and Jawbone models, has found their accuracy differs with the speed of activity, and where they are worn.

Dog walking could be key to ensuring activity in later life

July 24, 2017
A new study has shown that regularly walking a dog boosts levels of physical activity in older people, especially during the winter.

Alcohol to claim 63,000 lives over next five years, experts warn

July 24, 2017
Alcohol consumption will cause 63,000 deaths in England over the next five years – the equivalent of 35 deaths a day – according to a new report from the University of Sheffield Alcohol Research Group.

Alcohol boosts recall of earlier learning

July 24, 2017
Drinking alcohol improves memory for information learned before the drinking episode began, new research suggests.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.