Bringing the social context into the exam room: An investigation of the discussion of women’s social influences on contraceptive use
Awarded 2012
Trainee Grants
Kira Levy, BA
University of California, San Francisco

Effective contraceptive counseling is essential to providing women with high quality contraception that they can use correctly and consistently and thereby avoid unintended pregnancies, but what makes counseling effective is a growing area of research. One aspect of counseling that has received little attention is incorporation of social network influence into the discussion. With a growing understanding that social networks play an important role in other areas of heath and health behavior, and considering that contraception is an incredibly personal and sensitive decision, it seems reasonable that social influences would be of particular importance when discussing contraception options with a patient. In this research proposal, we propose to fill this gap in knowledge by evaluating the characteristics, predictors and effects of discussing social influence during contraceptive counseling through direct observation and patient surveys. Our central hypothesis it that by improving understanding of how counselors can address social influence during contraceptive counseling, future counseling interventions can be designed to promote better adherence and continuation of birth control methods.