Purpose: Little is known about how physicians' attitudes and knowledge of contraception could impact the unintended pregnancy rate in the United States. The objective of this study was to analyze survey data from physicians in primary care training programs in Pittsburgh, PA.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was administered to primary care medical residents in Allegheny County, PA. Descriptive statistics were used to illustrate training, attitudes and knowledge regarding contraceptive management. A multivariable analysis was performed to elucidate associations between training, attitudes and behavior.
Results: Of 143 residents surveyed, 74 (52%) responded. The mean score on contraceptive knowledge assessment was 54%. Obstetrics/gynecology residents performed consistently better on the knowledge index (p<.01). Among nonobstetrics/gynecology residents, formal training in contraception, female gender, ability to insert an intrauterine device and not being a family practitioner were independently associated with improved knowledge (p<.05).
Conclusions: Most of the responding graduating residents view contraception as an important component of primary care. However, young physicians have a contraceptive knowledge base that is inconsistent across primary care specialties. Improvement in this area might improve the unintended pregnancy rate in the United States.