Knowledge of contraception among Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) students


  • Grace Okolo


Contraception, Knowledge, University Students


Background: The deliberate avoidance of conception using various devices, sexual behaviours, substances, medications, or surgical procedures is known as contraception. Effective contraception gives freedom to have children when desired and permits physical contact without worrying about an unintended pregnancy. Some methods, like male and female condoms, also have the added benefit of protecting against STIs. In the UK for example, students, who are mostly adolescents are susceptible to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). According to research, the use of condoms and other preventive behaviours can be increased when teenagers receive comprehensive sexuality education that includes sexual health information, attitudes, behaviours, and exhaustive information about contraception. This can help to improve students’ long-term health outcomes and good sexual practices. This study aimed to evaluate and compare the knowledge of good sexual practices held by students in various departments at Liverpool John Moores University, paying particular attention to the comparison between the health and non-health programmes.

Methods: The Liverpool John Moores University Research Ethics Committee gave its approval for this work before commencement. This descriptive cross-sectional study was done using the quantitative method of data collection. A convenience sample of students were recruited via their university email, to partake in an anonymous online survey. The study is geared toward comparing the knowledge of contraception among students at the University. The variables measured in this study were all contributing factors to the measurement and appropriate choice of contraception. The variables of interest were types, time to use, how to use and place of purchase. The focus was placed on those respondents who are sexually active.

Results: The mean ± SD age of participants was 24.4±5.7years. The total number of male and female students were 10 and 55 respectively, with 5 who preferred not to say at all, making it a total of 70. The majority of the study participants cited school as their major source of information about contraception. Knowledge of contraception was compared with the program of study and level of study (p<0.05). Although most participants were students from the health departments, the chi-square analysis reported that knowledge of some contraceptives among students were significantly associated with the program of study but not with the level of study. The non-health departments seemed to be less knowledgeable about the less common contraceptives (rhythmic method, vaginal douching, the IUD, and contraceptives that require injection) while between the undergraduates and postgraduates, there seemed an almost equal level of knowledge.

Conclusion: Findings from this study demonstrate that most of the study participants had a general knowledge of contraception. Although, when compared between health and non-health programs, there was a potential difference in the level of knowledge among the non-health and health-related students. However, there is no definitive conclusion as the sample size was insufficient to make a strong inference. Participants from the non-health programs seem to have common knowledge about popular contraceptives, mostly condoms and pills. When a comparison was made between the undergraduate and the postgraduate students, there was not much difference noticed and as such, we can say they are evenly knowledgeable across their levels of study. This calls for efforts to be taken to inform educators to enlighten students regardless of study program about the less common contraceptive, usage and appropriateness.