ADOLESCENT CONTRACEPTIVE USE AND PREGNANCY: THE ROLE OF THE MALE PARTNER
ABRONS, PETER ERIC
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Because research on teenage pregnancy has not given sufficient attention to the involvement and influence of male adolescents in decisions regarding contraceptive use and pregnancy resolution, this study sought to clarify the role of the male so as to facilitate interventions aimed at preventing unplanned pregnancies. It was hypothesized that relative to males whose girlfriends were pregnant and either carrying to term or having abortions, effectively contracepting males would be functioning at higher levels of ego development, would be more secure in their masculine identity, have greater self-esteem, have more positive attitudes towards contraception, and have more liberal attitudes towards male/female roles than males whose girlfriends were pregnant. A number of other variables tapping demographics, sexual history and contraceptive use, availability and knowledge of contraceptive information and services, and attitudes towards pregnancy, were assessed. The three groups of males included 39 Effective Contraceptors, 15 Full Term males, and 17 Abortion males (males whose girlfriends were pregnant and either carrying to term or having abortions).;The results showed that Effective Contraceptors had higher ego development than Abortion males, and showed more positive attitudes towards birth control and more egalitarian notions of male/female roles than either Full Term or Abortion males. Although self-esteem and security in sexual identity did not significantly differentiate the groups, it is still speculated that these are more likely to be issues for males whose girlfriends are pregnant than those able to effectively use contraception. Knowledge of contraception and pregnancy risk did not differentiate the groups.;It is suggested that for the Abortion and Full Term male, the girlfriend's pregnancy is perceived as "solving" problems with self-definition, self-esteem, and sexual identity, thus resulting in selective inattention to contraceptive information. Low ego development further hinders the ability to plan ahead and to foresee the consequences of early parenthood. These males also view contraception as being more the girlfriend's responsibility, not theirs. Interventions should focus on changing attitudes towards contraception and early pregnancy in order to allow for more constructive alternatives.