College men may lack gynecologic knowledge

April 4, 2013

A study focusing on gender-based differences in gynecologic knowledge among college students has found that college men have less gynecologic knowledge than do college women.

 

A study focusing on gender-based differences in gynecologic knowledge among college students has found that college men have less gynecologic knowledge than do college women.

The study appears on the website of the Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology and was in press at the time of this newsletter.

Researchers including Paula J. Adams Hillard, MD, a member of the Contemporary OB/GYN editorial board, administered a survey to assess knowledge of sex, contraception, and female anatomy to college students at a Midwestern university during the spring 2010 semester.

The survey included demographic and behavioral questions, 9 general gynecology knowledge items, and 11 female anatomy items.

The 236 respondents included 98 men and 138 women aged 18 to 36.

Women scored higher than men on 19 of 20 items, with mean total scores of 13.4 versus 10.1 (P< .01). Gynecologic knowledge scores were higher among those who reported having been tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) (P=.13) and among those whose parents had discussed anatomy with them (P=.07).

The researchers found that being male was associated with lower mean knowledge scores, whereas increasing age and having a parent who discussed anatomy were associated with greater knowledge scores, even while controlling for having a gynecologist parent, multiple sexual partners, and prior STI testing.

The researchers state in their conclusion, “College men have lower gynecologic knowledge than women. … Because men influence women’s reproductive choices, efforts to increase men’s knowledge are needed.”