Comparing contraceptive use surveys of young people in the United Kingdom

Arch Sex Behav. 1999 Jun;28(3):255-64. doi: 10.1023/a:1018788310414.


Two sets of findings that emerged from a review of surveys assessing young people's use of contraception in the U.K. are outlined. First, the paper presents estimates of contraceptive use for this population subgroup and, second, it notes several limitations of surveys under review. The surveys use a wide range of indices in measuring these different aspects of contraceptive (including condom) use, which has made accurate cross-study comparisons difficult; hence most findings can only be presented as broad estimates (usually depicted within a percentage range), rather than as precise values. Nonuse of contraception among young people at last intercourse is 20 to 30% and nonuse of the condom lies between 40 and 50%. In light of this review process, the paper presents a critique of the indices used, labels the importance of using standardized and easily understood questions and measures, and highlights the most effective means of recording the potential for conception and/or sexually transmitted infection. Recommendations for those about to conduct further research in this area are added.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Condoms / statistics & numerical data
  • Contraception / statistics & numerical data*
  • Contraceptive Agents
  • Data Collection*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • United Kingdom


  • Contraceptive Agents