Contraceptive self-efficacy in college women

J Adolesc Health. 1993 Jun;14(4):269-76. doi: 10.1016/1054-139x(93)90173-m.


We examined the relationship between the theory of self-efficacy and its effect on contraceptive use along with other variables in a predominantly white female college population. Written survey questionnaires were administered to 356 subjects in college classrooms; the study sample was limited to those 250 female subjects who were age 17-25 years unmarried, and sexually active. The questionnaire was designed to measure contraceptive use, contraceptive self-efficacy, demographic variables, and other variables associated with the college psychosocial environment (i.e., alcohol use, history of sexual assault, and future orientation in education and career plans). Contraceptive self-efficacy (CSE) was highly correlated with effective use (r = .4, p < 0.01). Highly effective contraceptive users had a significantly higher mean CSE score (p < 0.01) than that of less effective users. Logistic regression analysis of effective contraceptive use resulted in a four-factor model that correctly classified 76.3% of users. Contraceptive self-efficacy was the most important predictor of contraceptive use for this sample. Lack of barriers to contraception was also important, with knowledge and length of time of sexual activity also included in the final regression model. Most demographic and future orientation variables were not significantly associated with effective use; variables measuring sexual experience and personal attitudes and perceptions about birth control were more significantly associated with effective use. A lack of interference from alcohol was highly associated with effective contraceptive use. Self-efficacy would seem to be important in predicting contraceptive use and effecting behavior change.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Contraception Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Regression Analysis
  • Social Environment
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities / statistics & numerical data*