Western Kentucky University

Poster Title

College-Aged Women and Their Knowledge and Attitudes of Reproductive Health

Grade Level at Time of Presentation

Sophomore

Institution 22-23

Western Kentucky University

KY House District #

13

KY Senate District #

8

Department

Exercise Science Department

Abstract

Knowledge of reproductive function and what constitutes a normal/healthy female hormonal cycle are often ignored in many young women prior to childbearing years. This is problematic in that the female reproductive system serves many other important roles in health. The purpose of this study was to better understand knowledge and beliefs about reproductive health among college-aged women. College-aged women attending Western Kentucky University (N= 475) were surveyed (via email or social media) using an instrument developed with questions from existing validated surveys (Ayoola et al.2016). 55.6% (n = 264) of participants reported using some form of birth control. 33.3% (n = 88) of those participants reported utilizing it for medical reasons, and 56.1% (n = 148) reported using contraceptives for cycle regulation. The majority of participants reported receiving their reproductive education from their parents (n = 286, 60.2%). 67.8% of participants stated they actively think about their fertility. Over the whole reproductive knowledge survey, the average score was 25.1 out of a possible 42 (59.8%). Over 50% of participants answered incorrectly to 8 of the 42 basic reproductive questions, showing gaps in knowledge.. Additionally, students in graduate school had significantly higher scores than those completing their undergraduate degrees (p = 0.009). Results help identify existing gaps in college-aged women’s reproductive knowledge, as well as how education might affect those gaps. With a better understanding of these gaps, educators and health professionals can address these areas and better equip the population with supportive health information. Better understanding of reproductive health options may help women make educated decisions that can improve fertility and other-related outcomes down the road.

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College-Aged Women and Their Knowledge and Attitudes of Reproductive Health

Knowledge of reproductive function and what constitutes a normal/healthy female hormonal cycle are often ignored in many young women prior to childbearing years. This is problematic in that the female reproductive system serves many other important roles in health. The purpose of this study was to better understand knowledge and beliefs about reproductive health among college-aged women. College-aged women attending Western Kentucky University (N= 475) were surveyed (via email or social media) using an instrument developed with questions from existing validated surveys (Ayoola et al.2016). 55.6% (n = 264) of participants reported using some form of birth control. 33.3% (n = 88) of those participants reported utilizing it for medical reasons, and 56.1% (n = 148) reported using contraceptives for cycle regulation. The majority of participants reported receiving their reproductive education from their parents (n = 286, 60.2%). 67.8% of participants stated they actively think about their fertility. Over the whole reproductive knowledge survey, the average score was 25.1 out of a possible 42 (59.8%). Over 50% of participants answered incorrectly to 8 of the 42 basic reproductive questions, showing gaps in knowledge.. Additionally, students in graduate school had significantly higher scores than those completing their undergraduate degrees (p = 0.009). Results help identify existing gaps in college-aged women’s reproductive knowledge, as well as how education might affect those gaps. With a better understanding of these gaps, educators and health professionals can address these areas and better equip the population with supportive health information. Better understanding of reproductive health options may help women make educated decisions that can improve fertility and other-related outcomes down the road.