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Keywords:

  • contraception;
  • family planning;
  • men;
  • meta-synthesis;
  • reproductive health

Aims and objectives

To explore the men's beliefs, values, attitudes and experiences towards contraceptives.

Background

The promotion of male participation in contraceptive practices requires the knowledge and consideration of the beliefs, values, attitudes and experiences involved. The systematic review of the literature focusing on these themes can be useful for the evidence-based health care.

Design

A systematic review of qualitative studies.

Methods

Studies published between 1994 until 2011 (inclusive) were included. The participants included men from all cultures, ethnic backgrounds and religions who have expressed their beliefs, values, attitudes and experiences regarding male contraceptives. The databases CINAHL, PubMed, PsycINFO, SciELO, LILACS and MedCarib were explored. The appraisal of primary studies, carried out through the JBI-QARI (Qualitative Assessment and Review Instrument) resulted in the inclusion of 16 studies in this systematic review.

Results

The set of statements of beliefs, values, attitudes and experiences regarding contraceptives resulted in five synthesis: (1) contraceptive behaviour is influenced by religious, family and social backgrounds; (2) gendered, male-centred values predominate in contraceptive behaviours; (3) the sense of invulnerability influences contraceptive behaviours; (4) strong obstacles should be overcome to use contraceptives; (5) behaviours, decision-making and experiences regarding male contraceptives.

Conclusions

The male beliefs and values regarding contraceptives are strongly influenced by religious, family and social backgrounds, and their attitudes in this scope are male centred.

Relevance to clinical practice

A deeper male consciousness regarding contraceptive responsibility should be promoted. It requires the knowledge of the men's personal backgrounds regarding contraceptives because they can be diverse according to family, social and cultural contexts. The consideration of the men's personal perspective is essential in the planning and implementation of reproductive health care. These aspects are essential for the concretisation of the evidence-based health care, a current challenge worldwide.