Contraception knowledge and attitudes: truths and myths among African Australian teenage mothers in Greater Melbourne, Australia Academic Article uri icon


  • To discuss the contraception knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of African Australian teenagers and women with a refugee background in Melbourne.The numbers of African Australian persons continue to increase, with a significant proportion being refugee women and children. Attitudes and behaviours towards contraception in this group continue to be influenced by culture, family and beliefs.This study is based on qualitative research that was underpinned by intersectionality theory, cultural competency and phenomenology.Sixteen teenagers and women who had experienced teenage pregnancy in Greater Melbourne, Australia, were interviewed.In-depth interviews were conducted with the sixteen African Australian teenagers and women. Following data collection, data were transcribed verbatim, and coded, and key themes identified and analysed using thematic analysis.Knowledge of contraception among this group of migrants was low and filled with myths. Attitudes towards contraception use were insufficient and influenced by beliefs and external factors such as partner, family and community attitudes towards contraception. Migration status and other instabilities in the lives of these participants all intersected to shape their health beliefs and contraception decision-making.Refugee teenage mothers' knowledge of contraception was low and their attitude towards contraceptive use was poor. Myths and external factors continued to influence teenagers' and women's attitudes towards contraceptives. The events and life experiences of African Australian teenagers/women, culture, and family and community influences should be taken into consideration when providing healthcare services and sexual health education to this migrant group.Service providers should consider the multiple intersections in the lives of these women when delivering healthcare services and information to them.

publication date

  • 2014