Prior to implementing a change in school clinic policy to allow dispensing of contraceptives, parents of schoolbased clinic (SBC) enrollees were surveyed regarding attitudes toward clinic quality of care, desired services, and contraceptive distribution. Telephone interviews were conducted with a systematic sample of 262 parents who normally are in charge of the adolescent's health care. Parental opinion was felt to be crucial in shaping Baltimore SBC contraception policy. Parents overwhelmingly endorsed current clinic services including family planning for sexually active teens, annual physicals, and drug and alcohol counseling. Most parents rated the SBC as excellent (25%) or very good (36%), although a substantial minority found it difficult to rate the clinics (27%, "don't know"). Parents with prior verbal contact (45%) were more likely to rate the clinic as excellent (35% versus 16%) and less likely to respond "don't know" (13% versus 38%, p < 0.001). Parent attitudes toward contraception was context specific: 63% endorsed and 27-30% opposed prescribing and dispensing. If a boy (or girl) was already having sex, 76% (or 75%) of parents supported and 14% (or 17%) opposed providing birth control pills or condoms. With parental permission, 93% supported contraception and only 3% were opposed. No differences were found by age, race, gender, or grade of student. Prior verbal communication with the clinic did not affect parent attitudes toward contraception. Consideration of parent attitudes was critical to changing SBC contraceptive dispensing policy in Baltimore. Contraceptive distribution, after counseling and necessary medical care, was initiated in September 1990. The parent and community response has been very supportive.
- Contraception School-based clinics Parents
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Psychiatry and Mental health