Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Michael Pratt

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


This study introduces a decision making skills training program as a potential intervention designed to help prevent unwanted pregnancies. The rationale for the proposed intervention is presented and includes a review of models of contraceptive behavior, decision making, stress, and locus of control. Two separate studies were conducted. Study one used a high school aged population from Los Angeles. Study two used an undergraduate student population from Wilfrid Laurier University. The effectiveness of the training was measured by assessing problem solving ability, stress reduction, locus of control, and participants’ intent to use contraception. Participants’ evaluations of the training materials were also obtained. It was hypothesized that the training materials would (a) improve problem solving abilities; (b) reduce the stressful nature of interpersonal situations involving human sexuality; and (c) promote an internal locus of control. Findings from the two studies generally supported the effectiveness of the training materials in improving problem solving abilities, but these gains were not maintained at follow-up. Tentative support for the program’s capacity to reduce stress was found in Study two. An internal health and contraceptive locus of control was also fostered in Study one. Although no direct measure of contraceptive behavior was taken, tentative support for the training materials’ capacity to affect attitudes towards the use of contraception was found in Study one. A discussion on future plans to develop the training materials is also presented.

Convocation Year


Included in

Psychology Commons