Purpose: Latino youth experience significant disparities in rates of teen pregnancy, and reproductive health needs of rural Latino youth are not well understood. The purpose of this study was to describe knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes about contraception among rural Latino adolescents and young adults (Latino youth). Methods: Eighty-four Latino youth, aged 15–24 years from rural Kansas communities participated in 15 focus groups (FG) and completed an individual survey. The survey assessed demographics and acculturation. FG participants discussed attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived sexual behaviors regarding teen sexuality, pregnancy, and contraception. Results: FGs revealed multiple obstacles to accessing reproductive health services: geographical/rural location, cultural barriers, religious influences, lack of sexual education, and personal attitudes toward pregnancy and contraception use. Participants described close-knit communities with limited access to confidential reproductive health care. They identified cultural and religious factors (sexual taboo, virginity, Familismo, and family dishonor) that influence family planning behaviors among Latino youth and obstruct access to sexual health and contraception knowledge and services. Ambivalence regarding pregnancy intentions was common, along with the belief that contraception equates with abortion. Conclusions: Latino youth in rural communities face multiple physical and sociocultural obstacles to accessing family planning information and services. Community-based pregnancy prevention interventions must target these obstacles to optimize reproductive health outcomes for Latino youth in rural settings.
- teen pregnancy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health