Using the Theory of Planned Behavior to determine pharmacy students' intention to participate in hormonal contraception counseling services

Curr Pharm Teach Learn. 2018 Nov;10(11):1488-1495. doi: 10.1016/j.cptl.2018.08.005. Epub 2018 Aug 24.


Introduction: Recent policies allow some pharmacists to prescribe hormonal birth control, which may improve access to hormonal contraceptives. This study explored associations between student pharmacists' hormonal contraception knowledge, attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control to counseling intentions, and preferred learning methods.

Methods: A cross-sectional online survey was developed to assess student pharmacists' hormonal contraception knowledge, perceptions, and counseling intentions. First-year student pharmacists at Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy were recruited from a skills course to participate. Constructs from the Theory of Planned Behavior and contraception knowledge were used. True/false questions were used for the knowledge scale and Likert-type items for remaining scales. Low vs. high counseling intention based on contraception knowledge and perceptions and controlling for student pharmacist characteristics was identified by logistic regression. One multiple-choice item explored preferences for learning about hormonal contraception.

Results: A response of 110/112 consented student pharmacists was achieved. Mean scores for knowledge, attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control, and intention were 76.6% (SD = 20.43%), 89.0% (SD = 12.40%), 63.9% (SD = 8.06%), 59.0% (SD = 10.46%), and 81.4% (SD = 12.87%). The contraception attitude variable was statistically significantly associated with counseling intention after controlling for respondent characteristics [Odds Ratio (OR) = 1.10 with 95% Confidence Interval (CI) = 1.05, 1.16] while knowledge, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control were not statistically significantly associated. Most respondents (56%) preferred to learn by watching examples of counseling, while some (30%) preferred role-play with peers, reading an article (9%), or using a computer simulation (3%).

Conclusions: First-year student pharmacists' attitudes towards hormonal contraception were associated with counseling intentions. Preferred learning methods were observational learning or role-playing.

Keywords: Contraception counseling; Intention; Pharmacy services; Theory of Planned Behavior; Women's health.

MeSH terms

  • Alabama
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal / therapeutic use*
  • Counseling / methods*
  • Counseling / standards
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intention
  • Male
  • Psychological Theory*
  • Students, Pharmacy / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult


  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal