Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

Department of Health Sciences

Advisor(s)

Maria Theresa Wessel

Abstract

More than 50% of pregnancies in the United States are unplanned. Though recent regulations have expanded access to EC, the numerous policy changes, lack of knowledge, and unreliable sources of information regarding EC prevent women from utilizing the benefits that EC can offer.

The purpose of this study was to assess students’ knowledge and attitudes about emergency contraception (EC) and to determine if there is a relationship between sexual behaviors and the use of EC. Two hundred and twelve undergraduate students from James Madison University completed an anonymous 29-question survey regarding EC.

Results indicated that students were reasonably knowledgeable regarding the purpose and use of EC, with the majority of respondents answering eight out of ten questions correctly. A chi-square analysis was conducted to evaluate the association between gender and attitudes towards EC. Data showed a significant relationship between gender and attitude about (1) whether the advanced provision of EC contributes to increased risky sexual behavior and (2) whether the use of EC is the females decision only. Regarding types of risky sexual behaviors, four behaviors were evaluated: sex under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, age of first sexual intercourse, number of sexual partners within the past year, and frequency of use of protection with sexual partner. Overall, of those respondents who were sexually active, majority engaged in few risky sexual behaviors and appeared to participate in safe sexual practices (having few sexual partners and frequent use of protection).

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