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Young Men's Communication With Partners and Contraception Use: A Systematic Review

      Abstract

      Purpose

      The rate of adolescent unintended pregnancy in the U.S. is high compared with that in other developed countries. While past research and interventions have focused on young women, the role of young men in pregnancy prevention has increasingly been recognized. Studies have assessed young men's knowledge and attitudes toward pregnancy prevention as well as their role in male-controlled methods of birth control such as condoms or withdrawal. However, less is known about how young men contribute to decision-making about contraceptive methods other than condoms with female partners. The purpose of this systematic review was to explore how young men communicate with their female partners and the effect of such communication on contraception use to prevent pregnancy.

      Methods

      We conducted a systematic review of six databases to identify English language articles published from January 1, 2002, through March 24, 2019. The review specifically explored how young men aged 11–24 years communicate with and affect their female partner (noncondom) contraceptive use. The systematic review explored additional questions, including those pertaining to the timing of partner communication in a relationship, communication strategies used by young men, and which dynamics of partner communication were measured in studies.

      Results

      Of the 12 articles identified as exploring male partner communication, five of the articles used quantitative analysis to measure any association between partner communication and contraception use, three of which produced statistically significant findings suggesting that communication increases the use of contraception other than condoms. Seven qualitative studies provided supporting narratives from young men describing communication with partners and how they influence contraception use by female partners. The articles also explored timing and strategies of communication, as well as topics, prompts, and communication cues used by young men. Measurements of both communication and contraception varied across studies.

      Conclusions

      With the small number of studies identified in this systematic review, we conclude that future research needs to corroborate the relationship between partner communication and contraception use with more robust and precise measurements of both communication and contraception.

      Key words

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