Australian pharmacy students’ knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours regarding emergency contraception


  • Denise L Hope Griffith University, Queensland
  • H. Laetitia Hattingh Curtin University, Perth & School of Pharmacy, Griffith University, Queensland
  • Michelle A King Griffith University, Gold Coast, Queensland


Australia, Emergency Contraception, Levonorgestrel, Pharmacy, Students


Background: Pharmacists are critical in providing timely access to emergency contraception (EC) and their knowledge and counselling on EC is paramount.

Aims: To describe pharmacy students’ knowledge of, attitudes toward, and behaviours related to EC in the Australian context.

Methods: A questionnaire was distributed to five year levels of pharmacy students at an Australian university in 2011. Participants were asked multiple response and true/false questions on EC knowledge and behaviours. A 5-point Likert scale was used to determine attitudes about EC.

Results: Of 356 students present at survey distribution, 347 (97.5%) responded. Progression through the pharmacy programme correlated with increasing knowledge regarding EC for most questions (p<0.01). As students advanced in the programme their self-perception of competence to counsel EC increased (p<0.001) and they were more likely to agree that EC should be available without prescription, but with requisite pharmacist counselling (p<0.001).

Conclusion: Focused teaching impacts on students’ knowledge of EC and intentions to comply with professional responsibilities in supplying and counselling EC. 

Author Biographies

Denise L Hope, Griffith University, Queensland

Lecturer, School of Pharmacy

H. Laetitia Hattingh, Curtin University, Perth & School of Pharmacy, Griffith University, Queensland

Senior Lecturer, School of Pharmacy, Curtin University & School of Pharmacy, Griffith University

Michelle A King, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Queensland

Senior Lecturer, School of Pharmacy and Menzies Health Institute Queensland


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Research Article