Does the perception of noncontraceptive benefits lead to higher rates of contraceptive continuation for adolescents and young adult women?
Awarded 2012
Trainee Grants
Aaron Lazorwitz, MD
University of Colorado

There are many safe and highly effective forms of contraception available in the US to prevent unintended pregnancies. These methods also offer short and long-term noncontraceptive benefits. Unintended pregnancy, however, continues to be a public health concern in the US. It is well established that unintended pregnancies are associated with infrequent use and method discontinuation often secondary to the perception of side effects. We are interested in the converse: does the experience or perception of noncontraceptive benefits lead to contraceptive continuation? We plan to conduct an exploratory study designed to understand what adolescents and young women believe are noncontraceptive benefits for a variety of contraceptive methods and to determine if these perceptions are associated with contraceptive continuation six months after initiation. We hypothesize that when adolescents and young women believe their contraceptive method confers noncontraceptive benefits, they will have higher rates of continuation. Understanding what adolescents and young adult women perceive at the time of initiation and during the first six months of intended use will lead to a better understanding of the motives involved in contraceptive continuation. Understanding the role of perception of noncontraceptive benefits in contraceptive continuation will allow design of counseling interventions, educational tools and outreach materials that take advantage of these perceptions.