Involving parents in adolescent contraceptive decision-making: A feasibility study
Awarded 2016
Small Research Grants
Julia Potter, MD
Boston Medical Center

Objectives: To determine the feasibility of including parents in contraceptive counseling and to assess whether adolescent-adult contraceptive counseling is acceptable and appealing to adolescents. Methods: Sexually experienced female patients ages 13-21 attending adolescent center visits at Boston Medical Center were approached for participation. Once consent was obtained, subjects identified a trusted adult with whom they wanted to discuss birth control. Research assistants used motivational interviewing techniques to conduct contraceptive counseling sessions, immediately following the clinic visit or at a later date. All approached adolescents filled out questionnaires. Results: Between February-October 2017, 131 adolescents were approached for study participation and 46 (35%) chose to participate. Seventeen (37%) adolescent-adult dyads completed the counseling intervention, while 29 (63%) adolescents consented to participate but never completed the intervention. The majority of trusted adults were female (88%) and over half were mothers (59%). Feedback from dyads who participated in the intervention was positive, with adolescents giving an average rating of 8 (on a scale of 0-10) for how helpful the session was. All dyads reported that they would recommend such a session to friend. Conclusion: In an urban adolescent primary care clinic, there is interest in including trusted adults in contraceptive counseling and such sessions are popular when conducted. However, a lack of adult presence at adolescent visits makes dyadic contraceptive counseling challenging. Scheduling dyadic counseling visits for a future date does not appear feasible, as the majority who did so did not return. Adolescent clinics need to better elucidate barriers to parent attendance at adolescent visits.