Contraception for Adolescents: Knowledge and Practices in Portugal

Patrícia Miranda, Pascoal Moleiro, Pedro Gaspar, Alexandra Luz

Abstract


Introduction: Adolescents are a target group for reproductive health intervention. Family physicians, gynecologists and pediatricians are the main providers of contraceptive counseling.
Material and Methods: Correlational, cross-sectional study, approved by the ethics committee of Leiria Hospital, Portugal. Data was collected through a validated online questionnaire (Cronbach’s alpha and Exploratory Factorial Analysis) using a semantic differential scale (1 — Totally Agree; 5 — Totally Disagree). Higher scores were indicative of greater knowledge or suitability concerning the matter in question. Results were compared by gender, specialty, years of career and rank: consultant or resident.
Results: We received 338 responses (51% family physicians, 29% pediatricians, 20% gynecologists), 66% were specialists, 36% had been working for less than 5 years and 17% for more than 20 years. Awareness of national recommendations was higher in gynecologists [4.38 (1.09)] and in the female gender [3.65 (1.41)] with statistically significant differences. Gynecologists had more recent training [3.79 (1.42)] and considered themselves to be up-to-date [4.41 (0.70)], p < 0.001.
Discussion: The questionnaire showed reliability and validity. Gynecologists were more familiarized with adolescent contraception; pediatricians and young clinicians highlighted the need for an update on this matter. Gynecologists had more training and considered themselves up-to-date, so training in this area seems to have a positive impact.
Conclusion: Knowledge about contraceptive counseling is not yet sufficient, so it is very important to invest in the continuous medical education of clinicians.


Keywords


Adolescent; Contraception; Contraceptive Agents; Counseling; Portugal



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