What influences young people’s contraceptive choice?

What influences young people’s contraceptive choice?

R. E. Say, D. Mansour

Newcastle Contraception and Sexual Health Service, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Introduction: Clinicians have suggested that use of long-acting

contraceptive methods such as Evra the contraceptive patch, NuvaRing the

contraceptive vaginal ring and Implanon the contraceptive implant may help

reduce teenage pregnancy rates. However, little is known about young people’s

attitudes towards these methods.

Objectives: The aim of this project was to explore the attitudes of

young people towards Evra, NuvaRing and Implanon in order to contribute towards

the improved understanding of the choices which young people make about


Design and Methods: A cross sectional survey was carried out using a

self-completion questionnaire developed for this study. Participants were a

self-selecting sample of young people attending young people’s contraception

and sexual health clinics. Statistical analysis was carried out using

appropriate univariate tests. Qualitative analysis involved detailed

identification of key themes which were continuously challenged by looking for

conformity and variation and by identifying disconfirming cases.

Results: One hundred and twenty nine questionnaires were returned. The

majority of participants had no prior knowledge of Evra, NuvaRing or Implanon.

Approximately one third indicated that they would wish to use Evra; five percent

that they would wish to use NuvaRing and approximately one quarter that they

would use Implanon. Statistically significant associations were found between

participants’ attitude towards using these contraceptives and their age,

experience of a pregnancy scare, experience of an unplanned pregnancy and prior

knowledge of the contraceptive. Five major themes emerged relating to the

advantages and disadvantages of Evra, NuvaRing and Implanon: convenience,

effectiveness, safety and side effects, invasiveness and discretion.

Conclusions: There is variation in young people’s knowledge of and

attitudes towards long-acting contraceptives which may be influenced by

contraceptive need, experience of lack of effective contraception and access to

information. The themes identified in their perceptions of these contraceptives

are useful in developing an understanding of what young people look for in a

contraceptive. It will be important for health professionals to provide

information on all these themes when assisting a young person in making an

informed decision about contraception.

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