Publications & Reports

Pregnancy and contraceptive use in a national representative sample of Australian secondary school students.

Agius P, Pitts MK, Dyson S, Mitchell AM, Smith AM
Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, University of Melbourne, Victoria.


OBJECTIVE: To determine rate of pregnancy and use of contraception in a nationally representative sample of school students. METHODS: Year 10 and 12 students from a representative random sample of schools throughout Australia completed a survey concerning health and sexual behaviour. RESULTS: Thirty-five per cent of students had experienced sexual intercourse. Of these, 6.1% (males 4.1%, females 7.8%) reported they had experienced sex that resulted in pregnancy, and a further 7.5% were unsure. Most sexually active students reported using a condom (65%), and a further 36.8% reported using the pill for contraception the last time they had sex. Relatively few students (17.2%) used a dual contraceptive (female method and condom). CONCLUSIONS: Rates of reported pregnancy among Year 10 and 12 students are relatively high. Although the majority of students used some form of contraception when they had sex, a significant minority practised unprotected and unsafe sex. IMPLICATIONS FOR PUBLIC HEALTH PRACTICE: Sex education concerning pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection risks must be delivered early enough to influence first and early sexual activity.


  • Journal: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
  • Published: 01/12/2006
  • Volume: 30
  • Issue: 6
  • Pagination: 555-557