Communication and contraceptive behaviour among adolescents in Kenya
This study analysed the direction and strength of association between exposure to family planning messages in the mass media and interpersonal channels on the one hand, and knowledge of modem family planning methods, approval of contraceptive use. intention to use contraceptives in future, and ever-use of contraception on the other. the study used the 1998 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey data and was limited to females aged 15-19 years old. Logistic regression was the major statistical method used. Analyses demonstrate a strong statistical association between adolescents' reports of having heard or seen family planning messages on the radio, in print and on television, and their knowledge of modern contraceptive methods even alter controlling for selected background factors. For instance, adolescents who reported exposure to both radio and print messages are 4.2 times more likely than those with no mass media exposure to report knowledge of five or more contraceptive methods. Results further indicate that mass media messages arc significantly associated with adolescents' altitudes to contraceptive use. Adolescents who were exposed to all the three mass media sources analysed (radio, print and television), for example, arc almost three times as likely as those with no exposure to report approving of contraceptive use. Generally, single sources have lower odds ratios compared with different combinations of sources at knowledge and approval stages This suggests that media sources reinforce each other at these stages. However, at the level of contraceptive intention, there is no evidence that media sources reinforce each other: single sources have odds ratios similar to those of different media mix - ranging from 1.4 to 1.7. Analyses further demonstrate that there is no significant association between mass media messages and ever-use of contraception among these adolescents. A look at effect of mass media sources 011 contraceptive knowledge, contraceptive approval, intention to use contraceptive in future and ever use of contraception leads to the conclusion that effects of mass media communication become progressively weaker as the individual moves towards higher stages of the process of behaviour change. Mass media communication has the largest odds ratio at knowledge level and slightly smaller odds at the level of approval. Moving on to the second highest contraceptive status - intention to contraception in future - the variable has odd» ratios that are much smaller than those of the preceding contraceptive statuses; and, finally, it becomes insignificant at the last stage of the behaviour change process - that is, contraceptive use. All in all, direct effects of mass media exposure seem to be greatest in spreading knowledge and altering attitudes and lowest in clinching decisions to use contraceptives among these adolescents. In contrast, exposure to family planning messages through interpersonal networks is consistently associated with the four indicators of contraceptive behaviour analysed. Indeed adolescents who reported having been exposed to family planning messages from friends, neighbours or relatives are more than twice as likely as those with no such exposure to know at least five modem contraceptive methods, to approve of contraceptive use. to have intentions to use contraceptive in future, and to have ever used a contraceptive method.