Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Condom Use, Contraceptive Methods, and Religiosity among Youths of Low Socioeconomic Level

Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Condom Use, Contraceptive Methods, and Religiosity among Youths of Low Socioeconomic Level

Article excerpt

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the use of condoms and other contraceptive methods and religiosity/spirituality among youths of a low socioeconomic level in Porto Alegre. 1013 youths, between 12-24 years of age participated, responding to a personal questionnaire containing 109 items. Results show that 53.5% of these youths had already had their first sexual encounter, 55% of which had this experience before the age of 15. The majority (42.8%) claimed to be Catholic, and 26.7% said they believe in God, but were not religious. There appeared no significant difference in the use of condoms in relation to the level of religiosity, however, men used this method more than women to avoid AIDS and as a contraceptive. Women used other contraceptive methods more frequently, and there were no cases of exclusive use of methods permitted by the major religions (natural methods). This study revealed a high level of condom use (more than 80%) among both religious and non-religious youths.

Keywords: condom, religion, contraceptive method, sexually transmitted diseases (STD)

El objetivo de este estudio era investigar la relación entre el uso del condón y la religiosidad/espiritualidad en los jóvenes de bajo nivel socio-económico de Porto Alegre. Los participantes eran 1013 jóvenes de entre 12-24 años de edad, que completaron un cuestionario auto-administrado de 109 ítems. Los resultados mostraron que el 53,5% ya habían tenido su primera relación sexual, entre ellos, el 55% la había tenido antes de cumplir los 15 años. La mayoría de ellos eran Católicos (42.8%), y el 26.7% decían que creían en Dios pero no tenían una religión. No se encontraron diferencias significativas en el uso del condón según el nivel de religiosidad de los grupos, aunque los hombres usan el condón más que las mujeres para evitar el SIDA y como método anticonceptivo. Las mujeres emplean otros métodos anticonceptivos, y no hubo casos que empleasen únicamente los métodos permitidos por la mayoría de las religiones (los métodos naturales). El estudio mostró un alto nivel en el uso del condón (más del 80%) tanto en los jóvenes religiosos como en los no religiosos.

Palabras clave: condón, religión, método anticonceptivo, enfermedades de transmisión sexual

The use of a masculine condom, commonly referred to as a rubber1 has been one of the principle methods to combat HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in Brazil and the rest of the world, motivated by public education campaigns by governmental agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Furthermore, condoms are also a widely used contraceptive method in Brazil.

Various factors are associated with the use (or non-use) of condoms and other contraceptive methods, including: cultural beliefs, level of information, family influence, and religion/spirituality (World Health Organization-WHO-, 2005). The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between use of condoms, contraceptives, and religion/spirituality for youths of low socioeconomic level (poverty). The level of religion/spirituality and the way in which the condom is used, whether as an STD prevention method or a contraceptive, were analyzed.

It is emphasized here that religiosity is presented as part of the public sphere (religious affiliation and practice), whereas spirituality is referred to as part of the private sphere of the individual's beliefs (Miller & Thoresen, 2003). However, the lack of an operational definition of these terms in the literature generates problems in their use. This is also not considered as a dichotomous attribution, as Fleck, Borges, Bolognesi, and Rocha indicated (2003); This is a broad phenomenon, and difficult to evaluate from criteria such as institutional adhesion and frequency of attendance in religious services, as is traditionally done in part of the studies. This fact implies difficulty in measurement and the necessity for careful attention in the creation of instruments to investigate this area. …

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