Perceptions of peer contraceptive use and its influence on contraceptive method use and choice among young women and men in Kenya: a quantitative cross-sectional study

Lisa M Calhoun, Anastasia Mirzoyants, Sylvia Thuku, Lenka Benova, Therese Delvaux, Thomas van den Akker, Courtney McGuire, Bernard Onyango, Ilene S Speizer

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-article


BACKGROUND: Prior research has established that an individual's social environment may influence his or her reproductive behaviors, yet less is known about peer influence on contraceptive use among young people (ages 15-24). In Kenya, the site of this study, 15% of adolescents ages 15-19 have begun childbearing and 45% of sexually active young women report current use of a modern contraceptive method. This highlights the need to better understand what factors influence young people to use contraception. The objective of this study is to explore the relationship between the perception of peers' use of contraceptives and contraceptive use and method choice among young men and women in Kenya.

METHODS: This study utilizes a nationally representative sample of women and men aged 15-24 years from the 2018 and 2019 cross sectional Shujaaz State of the Kenyan Youth annual surveys. Among the sample of sexually experienced young people (59%), multivariable multinomial logistic regression was used to explore the association between the perception of peers' use of contraceptives and the respondent's contraceptive method choice: non-user, condom use or use of any other modern method. Results are presented separately for young men and young women.

RESULTS: Our results show that sexually experienced young men and women who perceive that their peers are using contraceptives are more likely to report current use of condoms compared to being a nonuser (RRR = 2.12, p < 0.001, RRR = 2.59, p < 0.001, respectively); they are also more likely to use condoms than another modern method of contraception (RRR = 2.13, p = 0.034, RRR = 1.71, p = 0.014, respectively). Young women are more likely to use another modern method (not including condoms) than be a nonuser when they perceive that their peers' use contraceptives (RRR = 1.51, p = 0.020).

CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study highlight the important role of peer influence on young people's contraceptive choices. These findings can be used to develop programs that encourage behavior change communication activities in Kenya that focus on normalizing use of a full range of contraceptive methods among peer groups of sexually experienced young people.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16
JournalReproductive Health
Issue number1
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Condoms
  • Contraception
  • Contraception Behavior
  • Contraceptive Agents
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family Planning Services
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kenya
  • Male
  • Peer Group
  • Young Adult

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