HSR&D Citation Abstract
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Britton LE, Judge-Golden CP, Wolgemuth TE, Zhao X, Mor MK, Callegari LS, Borrero S. Associations Between Perceived Susceptibility to Pregnancy and Contraceptive Use in a National Sample of Women Veterans. Perspectives on sexual and reproductive health. 2019 Dec 1; 51(4):211-218.
Women may be at risk for unintended pregnancy if they forgo contraception or use ineffective methods because they erroneously believe they are unlikely to conceive. However, the relationship between perceived susceptibility to pregnancy and contraceptive use is not fully understood.
Data collected in 2014-2016 for the Examining Contraceptive Use and Unmet Needs study were used to examine perceived susceptibility to pregnancy among 969 women veterans aged 20-45 who were at risk for unintended pregnancy and received primary care through the U.S. Veterans Affairs Healthcare System. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify associations between perceived susceptibility to pregnancy (perceived likelihood during one year of unprotected intercourse) and use of any contraceptive at last sex. Multinomial regression models were used to examine method effectiveness among women who used a contraceptive at last sex.
Forty percent of women perceived their susceptibility to pregnancy to be low. Compared with women with high perceived susceptibility to pregnancy, those with low perceived susceptibility were less likely to have used any contraceptive at last sex (86% vs. 96%; adjusted odds ratio, 0.2). Among contraceptive users, women with low perceived susceptibility were less likely than those with high perceived susceptibility to have used a highly effective method (26% vs. 34%; adjusted relative risk ratio, 0.6) or moderately effective method (34% vs. 39%; 0.6) at last sex.
Identifying and addressing fertility misperceptions among women with low perceived susceptibility to pregnancy could help promote informed decision making about contraception and reduce the risk of unintended pregnancy.