Gender-based differences in fertility beliefs and knowledge among adolescents from high sexually transmitted disease-prevalence communities

Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United States
Journal of Adolescent Health (Impact Factor: 3.61). 04/2006; 38(3):282-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2005.02.012
Source: PubMed


Limited information is available about adolescents' beliefs about fertility in women and its link to sexually transmitted disease (STD) and whether men and women differ in their beliefs. This information may be useful for developing messages intended to motivate youth to seek STD screening while they are asymptomatic. The purpose of this study was to examine gender-based differences in fertility beliefs and knowledge.
Data were derived from the Adolescent Health Study, a population-based telephone survey study in which urban household adolescents from a high STD-prevalence community were queried about their sexual experience, fertility-related knowledge, beliefs related to timing of childbearing, and risk assessment of future fertility problems. Chi2 and regression analyses were used to evaluate group differences.
The majority of adolescents reported that having children was somewhat or very important, but that the 15- to 19-year-old age group was not the optimal time for a woman to have a child. Regression analyses indicated that female adolescents were more likely than male adolescents to identify chlamydia and pelvic inflammatory disease as causes of fertility problems. Seventy-two percent of adolescent girls thought there was some chance they would have future fertility problems and 58% thought they had little or no control over developing fertility problems in the future.
Additional health education is needed if we are to motivate adolescents to participate in asymptomatic STD screening programs. Involving male adolescents may be a more significant challenge given that fewer male adolescents understand the link between female fertility and common STD-related conditions. Given our findings, fertility preservation may be a valuable teaching tool and social marketing agent for STD prevention in adolescents.

2 Reads
  • Source
    • "A study carried out by the Swedish National Board for Health and Welfare [20] confirmed the changing attitudes of young people towards sexual activity, which has led to an increase in the number of sexual partners. Trent, Millstein and Ellen [19] called for STI prevention programs aimed at young people not yet sexually active. According to WHO [30] when programs of this kind are coupled with discussions about values they could lead to later sexual début and a wider use of prevention against pregnancy and STI. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Infertility is a serious problem for those who suffer. Some of the risks for infertility are preventable and the individual should therefore have knowledge of them. The purposes of this study were to investigate high-school students' knowledge about fertility, plans for family building and to compare views and knowledge between female and male students. A questionnaire containing 34 items was answered by 274 students. Answers from male and female students were compared using student's t-test for normally distributed variables and Mann-Whitney U-test for non-normal distributions. The chi-square test was used to compare proportions of male and female students who answered questions on nominal and ordinal scales. Differences were considered as statistically significant at a p-value of 0.05. Analyses showed that 234 (85%) intended to have children. Female students felt parenthood to be significantly more important than male students: p = <0.01. The mean age at which the respondents thought they would like to start to build their family was 26 (± 2.9) years. Men believed that women's fertility declined significantly later than women did: p = <0.01. Women answered that 30.7% couples were involuntarily infertile and men answered 22.5%: p = <0.01. Females thought it significantly more likely that they would consider IVF or adoption than men, p = 0.01. Men felt they were more likely to abstain from having children than women: p = <0.01. Women believed that body weight influenced fertility significantly more often than men: p = <0.01 and men believed significantly more often that smoking influenced fertility: p = 0.03. Both female and male students answered that they would like to have more knowledge about the area of fertility. Young people plan to start their families when the woman's fertility is already in decline. Improving young people's knowledge about these issues would give them more opportunity to take responsibility for their sexual health and to take an active role in shaping political change to improve conditions for earlier parenthood.
    Reproductive Health 03/2012; 9(1):6. DOI:10.1186/1742-4755-9-6 · 1.88 Impact Factor
  • Source

    Value in Health 05/2004; 7(3):276-276. DOI:10.1016/S1098-3015(10)62237-1 · 3.28 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Not Available
    Photonics and Microsystems, 2004. Proceedings of 2004 International Students and Young Scientists workshop; 10/2004
Show more