January 2021 Research publication: Reasons why young women in the United States choose their contraceptive method

Jan 31, 2021, 00:00 AM by Journal of Women’s Health



Understanding reasons for birth control method choice may inform interventions that help young women choose the best method for them. The purpose of this study was to examine why young women in the general population select their method of contraception.


An online survey was advertised through social media in 2017. After consenting, participants were gated through questions that ensured they were female, within the age range (16-25 years old), lived in the 50 U.S. states, and using intrauterine devices (IUDs), hormonal birth control, or barrier methods specified in the survey. Surveys with incompatible responses were excluded. Satisfaction, plans to discontinue, and primary reason for using current contraceptive method were examined and compared by contraception types using chi-square analyses. Multivariable binary logistic regression was used to examine satisfaction between contraceptive methods and races/ethnicities.


A total of 2632 responses were included. A high frequency of women using less effective methods (48.6% of nonhormonal birth control) chose them primarily to prevent pregnancy (20.6% of Copper T IUD, 23.0% of hormonal IUD, and 30.9% of Mirena IUD users), while other more effective birth control methods were often chosen primarily for other reasons. Recommendations from family or friends (14.6%) were used by some to make their contraception decision. Black respondents were less likely and Hispanic respondents were more likely to be satisfied with their birth control compared to white women.


Providers should consider that their young patients may want to better understand benefits and side effects of their birth control outside of pregnancy prevention. Furthermore, young women may utilize their friends and family to make their contraceptive choice, which should be taken into consideration when counseling patients.


Hirth JM, Dinehart EE, Lin YL, Kuo YF, Patel PR. Reasons Why Young Women in the United States Choose Their Contraceptive Method. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2021 Jan;30(1):64-72. Epub 2020 Aug 28. PMID: 32865466.

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