176841 Teen Births Up, but We're Not Down: Why Age Matters When It Comes to Contraception

Monday, October 27, 2008: 2:30 PM

Shelly R. Koenemann, MPH , Bixby Center for Reproductive Health Research and Policy, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Claire Brindis, DrPH , Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
In 2006, the nation's teen birth rate increased for the first time since 1991, with 99% of births being to teens ages 15-19. While the birth rate for these older teens increased, the rate for youth ages 10-14 declined. Understanding how attitudes and behaviors regarding contraception and pregnancy differ between younger and older youth can help policymakers and youth-serving professionals provide age-appropriate messages and services needed to reverse the current trend.

This analysis examines 13,000 youth surveyed through California's Teen Pregnancy Prevention program. Younger (ages 10-14) and older (ages 15-19) youth were compared on attitudes toward pregnancy, and among sexually-active youth, reasons for not using condoms, and contraceptive behaviors.

Older youth were more likely than younger youth to have a child and to report that they would be happy about being or getting someone pregnant. Comparing 4,154 older with 1,024 younger sexually-active youth, older youth were more likely to report using no contraception (32% vs. 24%) or withdrawal as their method of protection at last sex (15% vs. 10%). In contrast, younger youth were more likely to use contraception every time they had oral sex (25% vs. 16%) and vaginal sex (55% vs. 41%). When asked reasons for not using condoms, older youth were more likely to report: lack of pleasure with condoms, having a monogamous relationship, and not having condoms at the time.

These findings point to the need for additional research and prevention efforts focused on how sexual and contraceptive decision-making varies through stages of adolescence.

Learning Objectives:
• Identify age as an important focal point when examining teen birth trends and sexual attitudes and behaviors. • Compare and contrast contraceptive attitudes and behaviors between younger and older youth surveyed through California’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention program. • Discuss how findings can provide context for age-appropriate prevention efforts and stimulate further research on sexual attitudes and behaviors across the life course.

Keywords: Contraception, Teen Pregnancy Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have no conflicts of interest presenting this data. I am an independent university-based researcher.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.