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Social communication about contraception: A pilot study

Christine Dehlendorf, University of California San Francisco, 2012

Project abstract

The long-term goal of this research is to inform interventions that increase use of effective contraceptive methods by gaining insight into the effects of social influences on contraceptive use. Approximately 50% of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended, and these high rates are related to non-use of contraception as well as use of low efficacy methods. Limited qualitative research in the US suggests that women's communication about contraception within social networks may be one factor influencing contraceptive use. Research on social networks in developing countries supports the influence of interpersonal communication on contraceptive use; however, as this research has focused on countries undergoing demographic transitions and with different gender and fertility norms, its relevance to the US is unknown. Little is known about how and with whom women communicate about family planning or the degree to which contraceptive behavior is affected by social networks in developed countries.

We propose a pilot study that will provide us with the preliminary data necessary to allow us to submit a NIH grant for a cohort study investigating interpersonal communication about contraception, with a specific focus on communication about intrauterine contraception and on differences in social communication about contraception by race/ethnicity. Understanding how women communicate about contraception and identifying how social influences (i.e. friends, media, family) are associated with contraceptive attitudes and behavior may inform development of interventions to improve contraceptive use. Our aims including the development and pre-testing of survey instruments, creation of web and mobile-web survey applications, and a feasibility study for patient recruitment and study procedures.

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