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October 1989

Adolescent Contraceptive Use and Parental Notification

Author Affiliations

From the Oklahoma Children's Memorial Hospital and the Department of Pediatrics, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City. Dr Demetriou is now with the Adolescent Center, Boston (Mass) City Hospital, and the Department of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine. Dr Kaplan is now with The Children's Hospital and the Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver.

Am J Dis Child. 1989;143(10):1166-1172. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1989.02150220056021

• Little research exists regarding the relationship between family communication and the sexual behavior and contraceptive use of adolescent females. A self-administered questionnaire was used to survey 196 adolescent females regarding communication with their parents about sexual issues and their reaction to proposed parental notification of the dispensing of prescription contraception. Parents of 80% of the subjects who were sexually experienced were aware of this activity. Parents of 80% of those subjects who had used contraception were aware of this use; 59% of these subjects informed their parents before their family planning visit. The majority of female adolescents (57%) were unwilling to communicate with their parents about sexual issues; 64% felt they should be able to receive prescription contraception without parental knowledge. Communication regarding sexual issues was related to lifetime contraceptive use. Eighteen percent of the sexually experienced subjects would not allow their parents to be notified of their family planning visit; 86% would use less effective contraception if family planning services were not sought. Our findings suggest that a parental notification policy will not compel all adolescents to inform parents about their contraceptive use; most adolescents will resort to less effective contraceptive methods.

(AJDC. 1989;143:1166-1172)