Emotions Play Major Role in Teen Condom Use

FRIDAY, March 30 (HealthDay News) -- Emotions play a large role in teen condom use, and helping teens manage their emotions may be as important as practical information in promoting safe sex, a U.S. study suggests.

The study of 222 youths, aged 13 to 18, found that lack of self-efficacy (the belief that one could effectively engage in a particular behavior) when confronted with the stress of using condoms is a major barrier to their use.

Compared to teens with lower self-efficacy, teens with higher self-efficacy about condom use (they felt they could effectively use condoms) were more likely to use them consistently even when they were feeling upset, angry, depressed or bad about themselves.

"We found that adolescents need help feeling more comfortable and less distressed about discussing and using condoms," study author Celia Lescano, of the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center and the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Providence, R.I., said in a prepared statement.

The study is published in the current issue of the Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community.

Managing the stresses associated with condom use is important for promoting safe sex among teens.

"Adolescents can learn to decrease their anxiety about discussing and using condoms in order to use them safely and effectively," Lescano said.

More information

The Nemours Foundation offers advice to teens about discussing condoms with their partners.

SOURCE: Lifespan, news release, March 2007

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