Women's knowledge, beliefs, and information needs in relation to the risks and benefits associated with use of the oral contraceptive pill

Sarah Philipson, Claire E. Wakefield, Nadine A. Kasparian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Use of the oral contraceptive pill (OCP) is associated with numerous health benefits as well as risks, and it is important that women take these into consideration when making informed contraceptive choices. Methods: A questionnaire assessing contraceptive practices, knowledge and beliefs about the risks and benefits of OCP use, and information needs and preferences was distributed to 1200 Australian women aged 18-50 years. Results: Of the 305 women who returned the questionnaire, 93% had used the OCP at some time in their lives, with 32% reporting current usage. Only 50% of women reported satisfaction with previously accessed information about the OCP. Less than 40% of the sample reported a high level of confidence in their knowledge of the risks, benefits, and side effects of OCP use. Factors associated with greater OCP knowledge included being married (β=1.74, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.11-2.72), having a university education (β=2.20, 95% CI 1.49-3.24), longer duration of OCP use (β=1.06, 95% CI 1.02-1.09), and having greater confidence in one's knowledge about the OCP (β=1.70, 95% CI 1.38-2.09), whereas depressive symptoms were associated with lower knowledge (β=0.93, 95% CI 0.88-0.99). Preferred formats for the communication of OCP-related information were the internet and an information booklet. Conclusions: The findings provide an evidence base for the future development of simple and appropriate tools by which to communicate information about the health benefits and risks of OCP use to women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-642
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Volume20
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes

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