Purpose: To identify correlates of consistent dual-method use among African-American female adolescents at risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and pregnancy.
Methods: A convenience sample of 522 sexually active female teens attending adolescent medicine clinics, health department clinics, and school health classes volunteered. Recruitment sites were in low-income neighborhoods of Birmingham, Alabama. Adolescents completed a questionnaire and a face-to-face interview and provided vaginal swab specimens for laboratory diagnosis of STDs. Those reporting use of condoms and at least one other method of contraception, for each of the last five occasions they had sex were classified as consistent dual-method users. The questionnaire assessed frequency of adolescents' communication with their parents and partners about sex. The questionnaire also assessed two measures of parental supervision and adolescents' desire to avoid pregnancy. Multiple logistic regression assessed the independent contribution of each correlate of consistent dual-method use.
Results: Seventy-one adolescents (13.6%) were classified as consistent dual-method users. A strong desire to avoid pregnancy was the most influential correlate of consistent dual-method use [odds ratio (OR) =2.3]. Adolescents reporting that their parents generally knew whom they were with (OR = 2.0) and those reporting more frequent communication with parents (OR = 1.9) were also more likely to be consistent dual users.
Conclusion: The findings suggest the need for research to examine the efficacy of interventions building on adolescent females' desire to avoid pregnancy. Study findings also suggest that interventions promoting improved parent-adolescent communication and improved parental supervision may contribute to adolescents' use of dual methods for STD and pregnancy prevention.