Motivations for contraceptive use and confidence in the methods used – A large international research survey of 8500 women and men

Motivations for contraceptive use and confidence in the methods

used – A large international research survey of 8500 women and men

I. Lete Lasa1, J.L. Doval Conde2, C. Hendrix3

1Santiago Apóstol Hospital, Vitoria, Spain,

2Cristal Piñor Hospital, Orense, Spain, 3TNS-NIPO, Healthcare, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Background Previous research shows that more than two thirds of

Pill users regularly forget the Pill [Benedetto & Lounsbach, European

women’s survey on oral contraceptive use, ESC 2004].

Objective To investigate

contraception usage, motivations for use, and confidence in the methods used.

Methods A large research project was conducted in 14 European countries of

heterosexual women and men aged 16-40 years.

Results A total of 8531 people

completed the survey. The Pill (37% women; 34% men) and male condoms (36% women;

49% men) were the most commonly used methods. Both sexes rated reliability as

the top feature of an ideal contraceptive (women 50%; men 47%); followed by no

disturbance during sex (28%) for men and no side effects (38%) for women. Women

chose the Pill for reliability (71%) and lack of interference with sex (39%),

whereas condoms were chosen for STD protection (61%) and reliability (54%). The

contraceptive ring was chosen for its once-a-month (non-daily) action (60%) and

reliability (43%). There was a striking inverse correlation between women’s

confidence in a method and the contraceptive action required on her or her

partner’s part: 53% of Pill users felt relief when their period started,

compared with 57% of women using condoms, 81% using the rhythm method and 83%

using withdrawal. Confidence in the method’s reliability was highest for the

contraceptive ring and intrauterine device (29% of ring and 28% of IUD users

felt relief at the start of their period). Pill users (38%) cited incorrect use

or decreased reliability (circumstantial) (25%) for their worry and subsequent

relief, whilst ‘lack of trust’ was most cited by users of the rhythm method

(55%) and withdrawal (67%). Men were also concerned about correct Pill usage-51%

worried about partners forgetting and 54% had reminded their partners. Method

choice was regarded as the women’s decision by 24% of women and 6% of men (the

majority saw it as mutual). Men were least satisfied with methods that disrupted

sex (condoms and withdrawal).

Conclusions Whilst the Pill is chosen for its

reliability, concern about incorrect usage undermines both women’s and men’s

confidence in its reliability (similar to the incidence of worry associated with

condom use). The findings highlight the difficulties couples face in using daily

or intercourse-related methods correctly and the need for methods that minimise

the risk of incorrect use.

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