Eisenberg, M.E., Bearinger, L.H., Sieving, R.E., Swain, C. & Resnick, M.D. (2004). Parents Beliefs about Condoms and Oral Contraceptives: Are They Medically Accurate?
McKay, Alexander, The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality
Eisenberg, M.E., Bearinger, L.H., Sieving, R.E., Swain, C. & Resnick, M.D. (2004). Parents beliefs about condoms and oral contraceptives: are they medically accurate? Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 36, 50-57.
Parents are often cited as an important primary source of sexuality education for children and adolescents. However, research on the impact of parent-child communication regarding sexuality has been inconclusive. In addition, little is known about the medical or scientific accuracy of the sexual health information that parents may be sharing with their children. The purpose of the Eisenberg et al. study was to survey parents on their beliefs about the effectiveness of condoms and the birth control pill as well as parents' beliefs about adolescents' abilities to use these methods correctly. The authors then assess the survey responses in terms of current scientific evidence.
The study was a telephone survey conducted in 2002 of parents (n = 1,069) of 13 to 17-year-olds living in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The sample was mostly White (88%), female (68%), with most respondents describing themselves as either Protestant (47%) or Catholic (39%). Forty-one percent of respondents considered themselves either "very conservative" or "somewhat conservative" while 38% indicated they were "middle of the road" and 19% described themselves as "somewhat liberal" or "very liberal". Over three-quarters of the respondents had a high school diploma and 43% had a university degree. Respondents were asked multiple fixed-response type questions concerning the effectiveness of condoms, when used consistently and correctly, for preventing STDs and pregnancy (very, somewhat, and not effective), how often birth control pills, when used consistently and correctly, prevent pregnancy (almost all, most, or some of the time), and how safe birth control pills are (very, somewhat, or not safe). In addition, the parents were asked how many teenagers are capable of using the two methods correctly (most, some, or none).
Less than half of the parents (47%) in the study thought that condoms are "very effective" in preventing STDs and 47% thought that they are "somewhat effective". Fewer than half the respondents (40%) believed that condoms are "very effective" in preventing pregnancy while 55% said they are "somewhat effective. …