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Involving parents in adolescent contraceptive decision-making: a feasibility study

Julia Potter, Boston University Medical Center

Project abstract

Though the US has made significant progress in reducing adolescent pregnancy rates, the majority of pregnancies among adolescents are unintended. Research suggests that over half of female adolescents talk to family members about family planning and that conversations between adolescents and their mothers about sexual health are associated with improved use of contraception.1,2 However, little is known about the role that parents or trusted adults play in helping adolescents navigate decisions about which, if any, contraceptive method to start. Inclusion of parents in contraceptive counseling has the potential to help allay concerns, fill in information gaps, correct misperceptions, and better address the family's understanding of the risks and benefits of contraceptive options. We propose to trial a contraceptive counseling intervention with parent-adolescent dyads using the principles of motivational interviewing. This feasibility study will provide valuable preliminary data to inform an intervention assessing the comparative effectiveness of including a parent in contraceptive counseling versus contraceptive counseling with adolescents alone. Understanding how adolescents perceive the role of parents in the contraceptive decision-making process is a research priority of the Society of Family Planning (SFP Research Priority 11). By determining whether and how to include parents in conversations about contraception, we hope to identify a novel method to support adolescents in selection of contraceptive methods that are both highly efficacious and well-suited for them (SFP Research Priority 2).

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