Adolescent and Young Women's Contraceptive Decision-Making Processes: Choosing "The Best Method for Her"

Juliana R Melo, Marissa Peters, Stephanie Teal, Maryam Guiahi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Purpose: To evaluate influences on adolescent and young women's contraceptive decision-making processes. Methods: We conducted 21 individual interviews with women who presented to an adolescent-focused Title X family planning clinic seeking a new contraceptive method. Data were collected using a semi-structured interview guide, audio-taped and transcribed. Three researchers independently coded the transcripts using grounded theory; codes were organized into overarching themes and discrepancies were resolved. Results: After identification of themes, we organized the conceptual framework of the decision-making process using the transtheoretical model of behavior change in which participants move through 4 stages: (1) contemplation, (2) preparation, (3) action, and (4) maintenance. When contemplating contraception, most of our participants were highly motivated to avoid pregnancy. During preparation, participants gathered information related to their contraceptive concerns. Participants cited peers as primary informants and healthcare providers as experts in the field. Participants integrated information received with their personal concerns about contraception initiation; the most common concerns were effectiveness, method duration, convenience, and side effects. When participants acted on choosing a contraceptive method they described how it fit their individual needs. They considered their contraceptive experiences unique and not necessarily applicable to others. During maintenance, they acted as informants for other peers, but most commonly expressed that each individual must choose "the best method for her.". Conclusions: When adolescent and young women select a contraceptive method they balance the benefits and risks of available methods portrayed by peers and provider in the context of their personal concerns. Peer influence appeared to be greatest when participants shared contraceptive concerns and goals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)224-228
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • Contraceptive uptake
  • Decision making
  • Qualitative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Adolescent and Young Women's Contraceptive Decision-Making Processes: Choosing "The Best Method for Her"'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this