Contraceptive Efficacy, Ambivalence and the Role of Contraceptive Service Providers in Helping Women Avoid Unintended Pregnancy

Jennifer J. Frost, Guttmacher Institute
Susheela D. Singh, Guttmacher Institute
Lawrence B. Finer, Guttmacher Institute

Many women and couples have difficulty using their contraceptive methods consistently and correctly every time they have sex. As a result, unintended pregnancies continue to occur far too often. In order to identify strategies for improving contraceptive efficacy, we investigated factors associated with imperfect method use. We use data from a 2004 nationally representative telephone survey of 2,000 women that was specifically designed to measure contraceptive efficacy—a construct that has been poorly documented in prior research. The survey also identified difficulties faced by women and their partners around contraceptive use and explored a variety of socio-economic, personal, relationship and service provision factors hypothesized to be associated with imperfect use. In this analysis, we focus on the relative importance of women’s own attitudes toward avoiding pregnancy and their past experiences with methods and contraceptive service providers in predicting contraceptive efficacy, controlling for key socio-economic and background characteristics.

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Presented in Session 171: Heterogeneity in Contraceptive Behavior