Exploring adolescent experiences navigating contraceptive side effects to supplement Hello Options, a contraceptive decision-aid toolkit
Awarded 2023
Side effects matter: Centering people’s experiences with contraceptive side effects
Lee Hasselbacher, JD
University of Chicago

To meet the contraceptive needs of adolescents and provide patient-centered care, providers and clinics need to understand the factors that influence their contraceptive decision-making. Contraceptive side effects can play an important role in contraceptive satisfaction and use, particularly among adolescents. However, there is little research exploring adolescent responses to experiencing side effects. The proposed study will 1) explore how adolescent contraceptive users experience and respond to side effects and 2) identify the information that would be helpful to adolescents who are considering contraceptive method discontinuation due to their experiences with side effects. We will conduct in-depth interviews (n=30) with adolescents aged 13-18 who have used contraception. Findings will inform creation of a side-effect-related resource (i.e., Resource) to aid adolescents in navigating unwanted side effects. The Resource will complement existing web-based and print format contraceptive tear sheets co-designed by young people and clinicians at the University of Chicago to support the use of Hello Options, a contraceptive decision aid. We will develop and facilitate a co-design workshop with a subset of interviewees (n=10) to A/B test two Resource prototypes informed by interview themes to determine a final design direction. By employing a multi-method research strategy, we will gain insight on how young people experience, perceive, and navigate side effects as well as the information adolescents and clinicians may need to address contraceptive dissatisfaction. Study findings will be shared with clinicians, public health and contraceptive-access advocates, and adolescents.