- Among sexually-active, young women, the motivation to contracept
seems to be more of an issue than the technology. This study explored
two factors associated with the motivation to contracept; specifically,
the relationship of sex role orientation (SRO), and locus of control
(LOC), to the contraceptive use patterns of 77 unmarried, undergraduate
women. All subjects were sexually-active, 18-20 years old, nevermarried,
and full-time students attending a land grant university in
the Pacific Northwest.
The short form of the Attitude Toward Women Scale (AWS), and the
adult form of the Nowicki-Strickland Internal-External Control Scale
(ANS-IE) were used to measure subjects' SRO and LOC, respectively.
The Pregnancy Protection Index (PPI), devised by the author, was used
to measure likelihood of pregnancy. In addition to demographic data,
data regarding dating behavior, sexual activities, intercourse
experience, contraceptive history, and biographical history were
Results revealed subjects with more nontraditional SRO's: 1) used
the birth control pill; 2) used a "reliable" contraceptive method
(defined as birth control pills, IUD, diaphragm, condom and foam, or
condom) at the most recent intercourse; and, 3) engaged in intercourse,
significantly more than did less nontraditional women. Though not
statistically significant, a positive trend between nontraditional
SRO and more frequent contraceptive use emerged. However, there was
no significant difference in the PPI scores of women in these groups;
or in the percentage who used, or did not use, contraceptives at the
first intercourse, or in the last year. Subjects with more internal
LOC were found to have a higher frequency of contraceptive use.
Though not statistically significant, a trend between internal LOC
and a higher PPI score was identified. High internals were more
likely to have used some birth control method in the last year than
were low internals. No distinction between high and low internals
was uncovered regarding frequency of intercourse, types of contraceptive
methods used, or use of "reliable" vs. "unreliable" methods.
Regression analyses indicated that while LOC accounted for more of
the variance in the PPI than did SRO, the combined effect of these
two parameters was not significantly associated with a greater
likelihood of avoiding pregnancy.
Limitations of this study and suggestions for future research