Social communication about contraception: A pilot study
Awarded 2012
Small Research Grants
Christine Dehlendorf, MD, MAS
University of California, San Francisco

Objectives: Understanding how women are influenced by interpersonal communication about contraception can inform interventions that improve contraceptive use. The aim of our research was to develop the methods and tools needed to conduct a longitudinal cohort study of social networks’ influence on contraceptive use. Methods: We developed survey instruments for the longitudinal cohort study in consultation with a social networks consultant, using literature review and validated instruments to inform the questions. We piloted the questions in cognitive interviews with 25 women of reproductive age presenting at a family planning clinic. Among the same study sample, we tested the feasibility of recruiting women’s social contacts for a longitudinal study. Women were asked to hand out palm cards with the study contact information to women in their social network. Results: Using the results of the interviews, we identified revisions and clarifications in the questions, and improved formatting of questions that ask women provide information about their social contacts with whom they discuss contraception. Attempts to recruit the social contacts of the 25 women in the study sample were unsuccessful, though we did obtain data about their social networks. Conclusion: We used the revised survey questions and lessons learned from the recruitment feasibility pilot to inform a new pilot of social network recruitment that tests two approaches to recruitment. Participants in this study, still in progress, are randomized into an active or passive arm for social contact recruitment, and receive a $10 finder’s fee for each social contact whom study staff are able to contact.