Finding the best fit : an exploration of contraceptive decision-making in a sample of female students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
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The discourse around contraceptive use has attracted researcher’s attention in recent times, due to the alarming rate of unwanted pregnancies and STIs including HIV/AIDS. In 2013, it was recorded that more than 99 000 schoolgirls fell pregnant at the rate of about 271 for every day of that year. These concerns emphasise the need for drastic improvement in sexual education and access to contraceptives such as condoms. Hence, this study attempts to examine how young women decide on contraception, focusing on the factors that influence the process. A grounded theory approach was used to explore the influences of contraceptive decision-making in a sample of seven (7) female students at the University KwaZulu Natal, Howard College campus. Data was collected through in-depth interviews and was analysed using Pidgeon and Henwood’s (1997) approach to grounded theory analysis. The aim was to gain insight on the factors influencing contraceptive decision-making by female university students. The research identified an interplay of various factors that influence respondents’choice of contraceptives. The factors include knowledge levels, partners’ role, social networking, health care workers (HCWs) and perceived side effects of contraceptives. This qualitative study showed that individual autonomous decision-making played a minor role in the decision-making process. The study highlights the need to empower young females to make informed decisions regarding the use of contraceptives.