Understanding Contraceptive Behaviour to Prevent Unintended Alcohol-Exposed Pregnancies

Main Article Content

Natasha Reid
Chun-Chi Chen
Anne Bernard
Frances O'Callaghan


fetal alcohol spectrum disorder; prevention; contraception; unplanned pregnancy



Materials and Methods

Participants were recruited through the university research participation website where a link to an online survey was made available to first year undergraduate psychology students. The online questionnaire included questions on contraceptive and alcohol consumption behaviours in the past month, and questions that assessed participants’ knowledge and attitudes. A total of 106 participants were included in the current study.



The majority of participants reported using contraception when having sex in the past month. The most common form of contraceptive used was male condoms (~60%), followed by the oral contraceptive pill (~46%). There was a significant difference in one of the knowledge scales between the two contraceptive groups: participants who reported Never/Sometimes using contraception had higher knowledge of reproduction compared to those who reported using contraception more often. The proportion of participants who used contraception more frequently reported having more positive attitudes towards contraception compared to those who reported Never or Sometimes using contraception.



Given the lifelong impacts that can be experienced for individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), prevention of unintended alcohol-exposed pregnancies is an area that requires serious attention. If the high prevalence rates of FASD are to be reduced, prevention needs to take place for people of reproductive age, particularly in Australia where we have high rates of unplanned pregnancies and a binge drinking culture.

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