Debunking myths about contraceptive safety among women in Kingston, Jamaica: Randomized controlled trial
Awarded 2017
Large Research Grants
Maria Gallo, PhD
Ohio State University

Worldwide, concern about side effects and health risks is a key barrier to contraception use. Among women with an unmet contraceptive need in Latin America and the Caribbean, 35% reported contraception nonuse because of these concerns. These concerns often involve myths about contraception safety. Debunking these myths can be difficult as people have cognitive functions that render misinformation “sticky” and resistant to correction. Attempts to retract misinformation often are ineffective in memory updating and, paradoxically, can strengthen misbeliefs via several types of backfire effects. Recently, though, advances in cognitive psychology have established concrete strategies for effectively debiasing; a recent randomized trial based on one of these strategies succeeded in reducing skepticism about vaccine safety. We propose to extend this evidence to the contraceptive field by testing the effectiveness of a novel video, grounded in cognitive psychology, for overcoming the factors that cause women to maintain their misbeliefs about the safety and side effects of long-acting contraception (LARC). Using a randomized control trial design, we will assign adult, reproductive-age women (N=220) in Kingston, Jamaica who do not desire pregnancy in the next 12 months and are not currently using LARC to watch a short motion graphic video either on the myth debunking (intervention arm) or nutrition (control arm) before receiving the option for routine contraceptive counseling following standard care. Our primary aim is to determine whether LARC initiation is higher among women in the intervention compared to those in the control arm after 3 months of follow up.