Young Females’ Perceptions of Condom Use: A Qualitative Study

Dickson, Holly (2010) Young Females’ Perceptions of Condom Use: A Qualitative Study. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)] (Unpublished)

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Young Females Perceptions’ of Condom Use: A Qualitative Study

Aim: To explore the perceptions of condom use amongst young, sexually active females aged 16-19 years.

Background: Despite policy initiatives such as ‘The National Strategy for Sexual Health and HIV’ (Department of Health, 2001) and ‘The Teenage Pregnancy Strategy’ (Department for Children, Schools and Families, 2009a), 16-19 year old females have growing rates of Sexually Transmitted Infections (Health Protection Agency, 2008a) and under-18 conceptions remain prevalent (MedFASH, 2008). This suggests young females are not using condoms for sexual activity.

Method: Using a qualitative research approach, semi-structured interviews were conducted with twelve sexually active, 16-19 year old females. Participants were recruited from a sexual health clinic within an inner city youth service using convenience sampling. Following data collection, data were analysed using manual thematic analysis.

Results: A number of participants in steady relationships were having unprotected sex, yet were unaware of this owing to the ambiguous language used within sexual health. Casual partners were thought to pose a greater STI risk due to uncertainties about their sexual histories; condom use was deemed essential in such relationships. Participants felt comfortable accessing condoms; however, they described how they disrupted sex and in some cases, alcohol consumption led to non-use. Pregnancy prevention was perceived to be more important than STI prevention. Participants reporting a previous STI or STI test demonstrated more favourable attitudes towards condom use. The inadequacy of sex education was highlighted by the majority of participants. For strategies to promote safer sexual practices, young females recommended more personalised sex education, fear tactics and more readily available, free condoms.

Conclusion: Healthcare professionals and educationalists must use clear terminology when providing sexual health information in order to prevent misinterpretations which lead to condom non-use. Condoms must be promoted as a ‘normal’ part of sexual activity in order to encourage their use in both casual and steady relationships. It is recommended that future researchers investigate the language used within sexual health and review the way in which sex education is currently delivered.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2011 09:53
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2018 16:39

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