Dual method use, or the concurrent use of one contraceptive method to prevent pregnancy and another to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), is an ideal practice for young women but is underutilized. In a recent National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) study, 7.4% of women of reproductive age reported dual method use at last intercourse. In the same NSFG study, dual method use at last intercourse among women 15-20 years old was somewhat higher at 22.8%; still, this estimate indicates low utilization when compared to recent trends in the prevalence of single-contraceptive method use by young women. Apart from the NSFG and some smaller scale studies, there have been minimal efforts to explore dual method use in high-risk populations of young women such as college students. This is surprising, given that college students typically have more opportunities to be sexually active than other groups and often engage in serial monogamy or have multiple sexual partners during their college years. This study aimed to add to previous research on women’s health and contraception by assessing college women’s contraceptive use, including dual method use, and examining factors that influence contraceptive decision-making. Female students at ETSU were surveyed through the Department of Psychology research participation system from Oct 2017-Dec 2017. Students received class credit for survey completion. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics in SPSS (Version 24.0). To be consistent with previous studies on health behaviors of college-aged women, the final dataset included only female college students between ages 18 and 25 (n=379). About one-fifth (21.1%) of women reported current dual method use. Of particular interest, only 30.5% of women who indicated sexual activity in the past six months also reported dual method use. Nevertheless, most women reported positive feelings about dual method use and indicated they would not find it hard to achieve dual method use; 69.1% reported feeling great or good about dual method use, and 74.5% indicated that it would not be hard to use condoms plus another form of birth control together correctly. Future efforts to study dual method use in college women should include close examination of subgroups who have yet to commit to dual method use but have positive attitudes and intentions regarding dual method use. Results of this study also indicate a need to implement educational and promotional strategies in college environments to better inform college-aged women about dual method use and its benefits.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/joel-hillhouse/51/