Male perceptions on abortion, adolescent fatherhood and contraception – a focus group study among Swedish teenage boys

Male perceptions on abortion, adolescent fatherhood and

contraception – a focus group study among Swedish teenage boys 

M. Ekstrand1, T.

Tydén2, E. Darj1, M. Larsson1 

1Department of Women´s and Children´s Health,

International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), Uppsala, Sweden, 2Department of Public

Health and Caring Sciences, Section of Caring Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden 

Background The abortion rate among Swedish teenagers increased by nearly 50 %

between 1995 and 2002. The aim of this study was to increase the understanding

of how teenage males view abortion, adolescent fatherhood, sexual behavior and

contraceptive habits. 

Methods Six focus group interviews with 17-year-old boys

were conducted (n=40). The interviews were tape recorded, transcribed verbatim

and analyzed by manifest content analysis. 

Results Abortion was regarded as a

moral dilemma. Yet, becoming an adolescent father was considered a catastrophe.

All groups knew and agreed that the ultimate abortion decision rests with the

girl. Still, some participants were frustrated by not having any legal right to

affect the outcome of the decision. Contraceptive failure was viewed as common

and occurred mainly under the influence of alcohol in relation to unplanned sex.

Although the general agreement was that both parties should share equal

responsibility for contraception use, girls were perceived as more obliged than

boys in avoiding pregnancy. Discussions revealed that boys often put a silent

trust in the girl using contraceptives, especially in one-night-stand situations.

Others relied on the partner to take emergency contraception afterwards. No

group explained failure in contraceptive use due to lack of knowledge. The

participants were found to have limited knowledge of abortion and fetus

development. The amount of school provided sexual education varied widely among

the participants and was criticized for not focusing enough on emotions,

parenthood or sexual risk taking. Still, the sexual education was considered a

neutral and important counterweight to other information sources regarding sex,

e.g. pornography. 

Conclusion Young men need to share the contraception

responsibility with their partner, not only in theory but also in practice.

Improvement in communication skills in intimate situations and increased

awareness of health consequences regarding sexual risk taking are essential

factors in order to prevent unwanted pregnancies and/or transmission of STI.

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