Reasons for delay in contraceptive clinic utilization. Adolescent clinic and nonclinic populations compared

Laurie S. Zabin, Heather A. Stark, Mark Ross Emerson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Because delay in accessing contraceptive services is a serious obstacle to prevention of unintended pregnancy in adolescence, reasons for delay are probed in a junior and senior high school population and compared with results obtained among 435 young black women previously surveyed in 32 U.S. clinics. The 388 students surveyed before exposure to pregnancy prevention services are compared with 422 surveyed after ≥2 years exposure to a successful educational/clinical intervention program. Particular attention is paid to reasons cited by those who never utilized services important reasons cited by all groups include fear that contraception is dangerous (cited by 40.0% at baseline), fear of parental discovery (30.5%), and awaiting "closer" partner relationships (31.3%). The last reason was often cited a year or more after initiating coitus. That the perception of birth control as dangerous is a barrier to contraception is confirmed by the large proportions who cited it among those who had never used clinical services. Programmatic implications of the findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-232
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health Care
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1991



  • Contraceptive clinics Adolescents Pregnancy prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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