Perceived versus actual knowledge about correct condom use among U.S. adolescents: Results from a national study

Richard A. Crosby, William L. Yarber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: To assess the prevalence of three misconceptions about correct condom use and determine whether prevalence of these misconceptions varied by gender, sexual intercourse experience, experience using condoms, and the relationship between adolescents' actual and perceived knowledge about correct condom use. Variables that predicted misconceptions about correct condom use were also identified. Methods: Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health were analyzed to determine prevalence of misconceptions among 16,677 adolescents. Misconceptions were: (a) no space at the tip of the condom, (b) Vaseline can be used with condoms, and (c) lambskin protects against the acquired immunodeficiency virus better than latex. Chi-square analyses determined differences in prevalence of misconceptions between male and female adolescents based on their sexual and condom use experience as well as their level of perceived knowledge about correct condom use. Logistic regression models identified predictors of reporting misconceptions. Results: Depending on intercourse experience and experience using condoms, about one-third to one-half believed the first two misconceptions and about one-fifth believed the latter one. Perception of knowledge about correct condom use was infrequently related to actual knowledge. Misconceptions were less likely among older adolescents, those ever having intercourse, those reporting four or more lifetime intercourse partners, those who had used condoms, females, and those not reporting a religious affiliation. Conclusions: Misconceptions about correct condom use are common among adolescents. Sexually active adolescents need more complete information about correct condom use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-420
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Volume28
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Condom use
  • Gender differences
  • HIV
  • Knowledge
  • Sexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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