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Teenage Contraceptive Use in Iceland: A Gender Perspective


  • Sóley S. Bender R.N., B.S., M.S., is Associate Professor, Faculty of Nursing, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland. Elise Kosunen, M.D., Ph.D., Medical School, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland.

* Sóley S. Bender, University of Iceland, Eirberg, Eiriksgata 34, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland. E-mail:


Abstract  Different gender beliefs toward contraception may affect contraceptive use among teenagers and need to be explored for the development of sexuality education and services aimed at this age group. A cross-sectional national survey was conducted. A random sample of 1,405 sexually active teenagers, 1,181 girls, and 224 boys was studied. One quarter of the girls and one fifth of the boys had often/always used unsafe methods (withdrawal and natural methods), and about one third of the teenagers used contraceptive methods sporadically or not at all. Generally, teenage girls had more positive beliefs toward use of contraceptives, more positive friends, and more supportive parents regarding contraception than boys. Both genders were more likely to use contraceptives if they recognized the seriousness of pregnancy and easiness of making contraceptive plans. Additionally, teenage girls were more likely to use contraceptives if they were older at the time of sexual debut, were in a steady sexual relationship, considered contraceptive services good, believed in not taking chances, and their parents knew about their contraceptive use. Preventive strategies must primarily target those teenagers who start sexual debut early, are not in a steady relationship, and are not receiving parental support.