Sexual Risk Taking – Perceptions of Contraceptive Use, Abortion, and Sexually Transmitted Infections Among Adolescents in Sweden
Sammanfattning: The overall aim of this thesis was to inestigate Swedish adolescents' perceptions and behaviours regarding sexual risk taking. Specific objectives were to explore teenagers' perceptions of contraceptive use, unintended pregnancy, and abortion; teenage girls' experiences of decision making process and support connected to abortion; and male adolescents' perceptions of sexual risk taking and barriers to practicing safe sex. Another objective was to evaluate the effect of advance provision of emergency contraceptive pills to teenage girls. The methodologies included focus group discussions, in-depth interviews, and a randomized controlled trial. Among the adolescents in our studies, teenage parenthood was generally viewed as a "catastrophe", and the majority expressed supportive attitudes towards abortion (studies I-IV). Occasions of failure to use contraceptives were common, especially when sex was unplanned (studies I-V). Pregnancy prevention was perceived as the woman's responsibility. However, many girls were reluctant about using homonal contraceptives due to worries about negative side effects (I, III). Initiating condom use was difficult for girls, as well as for boys, for a number of reasons (I-IV): fear of ruining an intimate situation, associations with disease, distrust, pleasure reduction, and (for the boys) the fear of loosing one's erection. Males generally perceived personal and partner-related risks connected to unprotected intercourse as low. Few males were worried that an unintended pregnancy would be carried to term, and the majority would urge the girl towards abortion if she seemed ambivalent (II, IV). Girls viewed the abortion decision as a natural, yet difficult choice, strongly influenced by attitudes of partners, parents, peers and societal norms (III). Teenage girls provided with emergency contraceptive pills in advance used it more frequently and sooner after unprotected intercourse compared with controls, without jeopardising regular contraceptive use (V).
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