Men's knowledge, attitude, and barriers towards emergency contraception: A facility based cross-sectional study at King Saud University Medical City

PLoS One. 2021 Apr 26;16(4):e0249292. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0249292. eCollection 2021.


Background: Male partners have a considerable role in influencing women's contraceptive decision making to reduce the chance of unintended pregnancy. Most studies are focused on women's knowledge and barriers for emergency contraception (EC) use. There is limited research on this topic from the male perspective. This study aimed to gather baseline data on men's knowledge, attitudes and barriers about EC.

Methods: Descriptive analytic cross-sectional study was conducted from Dec 2019 -May 2020 at the King Khalid University Hospital (KKUH); a teaching facility with general and subspecialty medical services in King Saud University Medical City (KSUMC), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Data were collected using a structured pretested questionnaire and analyzed using SPSS version 23.0. Descriptive statistics and Chi square tests were used. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to find significant predictors for EC awareness and use. A p value < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Results: A total of 461 participants completed the questionnaire (response rate 86%). The majority (82%) of the participants were unaware of EC; with only 18% having some knowledge. Knowledgeable men had positive attitudes (73.5%) about EC as compared to non- knowledgeable ones (55.0%). Factors found to be associated with less knowledge of EC were cultural [0.46, 95%CI 0.22. 0.96] and religious unacceptability [OR 0.51, 95%CI 0.29, 0.89)]. Higher level of education [OR 1.83, 95%CI 0.94, 3.53] was associated with more knowledge regarding EC. The study showed that correct information about using contraceptives within 3 days of unprotected sex [OR 4.96, 95%CI 1.81, 13.60]; availability without prescription [OR 5.06, 95%CI 1.68, 15.30], EC advertisement [OR 4.84, 95%CI 0.96, 24.27] and receipt of information from family/friends [OR 18.50, 95%CI 5.19, 65.93] were factors that contributed to men using EC.

Conclusion: The current knowledge of EC among men is limited. Social determinants affect these levels of knowledge, as well as the usage of EC. Factors that were associated with the use of ECPs were correct knowledge, advertisement, availability and receipt of information from family/friends. The findings highlight the need to educate men on this important topic to avoid unintended pregnancy, keeping in view cultural and social values. Future qualitative studies are needed to understand the male perspective.

Grant support

The source of funding was financial support for our study. The research was not funded by a specific project grant, but we are grateful to the Deanship of Scientific Research, King Saud University for funding through Vice Deanship of Scientific Research Chairs. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The authors did not receive any salary from any of the funders.