“you don't want to mess up your own body:” barriers to family planning clinic use among adolescents in California
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
: 8:42 a.m. - 8:54 a.m.
California has seen dramatic reductions in adolescent pregnancies and births in recent years. However, despite the availability of family planning services for low-income and adolescent populations, such as California's Family PACT program, many teens do not take full advantage of these prevention services. As part of a statewide evaluation of California's Teen Pregnancy Prevention program, researchers conducted a mixed-methods study to explore the social, economic, and neighborhood context of ten communities with elevated or declining teen birth rates. Twenty-two single-sex focus group discussions were conducted with 186 youth, including a brief quantitative survey. Topics covered included access to clinical services and perceptions of teen pregnancy and parenting. Data were analyzed in Atlas.ti using a grounded theory approach. Although 75% of teen participants reported knowing where to get family planning services, group discussions revealed significant social and logistical barriers to service use, such as embarrassment, judgment, fears about confidentiality, negative experiences with clinic staff, lack of transportation, and inability to leave school without parental consent. As one participant explained, If you're seen at the clinic, it goes viral. Teens relayed persistent myths and misinformation about contraceptive methods, sharing concerns that You don't want to mess up your own body. Both boys and girls reported relying primarily on condoms, due to their availability beyond the clinic, in less embarrassing settings. Preliminary findings indicate the need for programs and policies to reduce barriers facing adolescents in accessing reproductive health services throughout the state.
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences
Describe common social and logistical barriers facing adolescents in accessing reproductive health services in California.
Describe common myths and misinformation about birth control among teens.
Identify opportunities to improve youth access to and utilization of reproductive health services.
This presentation is part of a proposed panel, entitled “The California Hot Spots Study: Insights into neighborhood-level factors associated with teenage pregnancy.”
Keyword(s): Adolescent Health, Pregnancy
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted reproductive health research and evaluation for over 10 years, with a special focus on adolescent health and access to services.
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.