Women's Reproductive Knowledge and Their Ability to Teach Their Daughters about Reproductive Changes

Tuesday, 10 November 2015: 10:20 AM

Yenupini Joyce Adams, BSN, RN
College of Nursing, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA
Adejoke B. Ayoola, PhD, RN
Department of Nursing, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI, USA

Purpose: Life span approach to promoting reproductive health requires initiating reproductive education early, during the pre-pubertal and early adolescent period. Mothers tend to have close relationships with their daughters and could be the earliest and best source of information for their girls on reproductive education. But women could only effectively teach their daughters if they have good reproductive knowledge. This study examined the association between women's reproductive knowledge and their perception of their ability to teach their daughters about the reproductive changes occurring in their bodies.
Methods: The social cognitive theory informs this study. A convenience sample of ethnically diverse women completed a self-administered questionnaire to assess their reproductive knowledge. The "Knowledge of the Female Body" (KFB) scale assessed women's knowledge of the female reproductive system and hormones, ovulation and its timing, menstrual cycle, signs of pregnancy, and mechanism of action of common birth control methods. Statistical analyses entailed univariate and bivariate analyses using STATA 13.
(χ2 = 11.46; Fisher's exact p = 0.021).
Results: One hundred and twenty-five women aged 18 to 51 years (M = 30.48, SD = 7.35) completed the questionnaire. 58.4% were not married and 69.6% had one to three children. Majority (70.4%) of the women had a household income less than $20,000.00. There were 52% Hispanics, 36% African American, and 12% White women. The mean correct reproductive knowledge score was 16 (SD= 5.73, range 0 to 27) for the 27 items analyzed in this study. Forty percent of the women had low knowledge (scored 15 and below). The average knowledge score for African Americans was the highest at 19.36 (SD= 3.8, range 11 to 26). The lowest knowledge score was among Hispanic women--13.57 (SD= 5.51, range 0 to 27). Women with no prior birth had higher mean reproductive knowledge scores than women with four children or more (19 vs. 17), (χ2 = 7.22; P = 0.022; Fisher's Exact Test, FET). There was a significant relationship between women's knowledge and their perceived ability to teach their daughters about reproductive changes occurring in their bodies (P=0.01), and about how to keep a menstrual calendar to monitor their ovulation (P= 0.03). Women with higher knowledge scores (Mean= 17.05, SD 5.41, range 1 to 27) were confident they could teach their daughters about reproductive changes occurring in their bodies and women with lower knowledge scores (Mean=13.63, SD=5.65, range 0 to 23) were not confident about their ability to teach their daughters about reproductive changes.
Conclusion: Higher reproductive knowledge is associated with higher confidence in mothers' ability to teach their daughters about the reproductive changes occurring in a girl's body. Educating mothers about their reproductive system will provide opportunities for women to teach relevant reproductive content to younger girls early in their developmental years.