Knowledge and beliefs about contraception in urban Latina women

J Community Health. 2008 Oct;33(5):357-62. doi: 10.1007/s10900-008-9100-1.


Our study aimed to identify perceptions Latina women have about four different contraceptive methods and to investigate whether religiosity and acculturation play a role in their contraceptive choice. An observational cross-sectional study was performed at Bellevue Hospital. A questionnaire was given to women in the gynecology outpatient clinics asking about: oral contraceptive pills (OCP's), injectable contraception (DMPA), the Intrauterine device (IUD) and the Ortho-Evra Patch (Patch). In the 102 complete surveys, self identified Latina women were not convinced of the safety of OCPs and DMPA (less than 50% perceived them to be safe) and largely uncertain about the Patch and IUD. Latinas also demonstrated more negative beliefs about the side effects of OCPs and DMPA. In particular, they were concerned about weight gain, method reversibility, and bleeding. There was no substantial correlation between religiosity and contraceptive beliefs. Low level acculturated women were more likely to believe that the IUD and OCPs were harmful, as opposed to their more acculturated counterparts who demonstrated more negative beliefs about the Patch. Overall, Latina women in this study tended to overrate the risks associated with contraceptive use, particularly OCPs and DMPA. The markedly low method confidence suggested by high rates of "unsure" answers is a possible explanation for why Latinas are less adherent with birth control than their white counterparts.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Contraception*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Hispanic Americans*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Health*
  • Young Adult