Tailored health messaging improves contraceptive continuation and adherence: results from a randomized controlled trial

Contraception. 2012 Nov;86(5):536-42. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2012.02.005. Epub 2012 Mar 23.


Background: Discontinuation and incorrect use of contraceptive methods may contribute to as many as 1 million unintended pregnancies annually in the United States. Interventions to improve contraceptive method continuation and adherence are needed.

Study design: A three-arm randomized controlled trial was conducted at two family planning sites testing the efficacy of a computer-based contraceptive assessment module in increasing the proportion of patients who continued use of their chosen contraceptive method 4 months after the family planning visit (n=224).

Results: In analyses adjusting for clinical site of recruitment, family planning patients who used the module and received individually tailored health materials (n=78), compared to those in the control group (n=70), were significantly more likely to continue use of their chosen contraceptive method [95% compared to 77%; odds ratio (OR)=5.48; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.72-17.42] and to adhere to their method (86% compared to 69%; OR=2.74; 95% CI: 1.21-6.21). No significant differences in these outcomes were found for participants who used the module but did not receive tailored materials (n=76), compared to the control group.

Conclusions: Tailored health materials significantly improved contraceptive method continuation and adherence. Additional research on the impact of the intervention on continuation and adherence in a larger sample and over a longer follow-up period is merited.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Computers
  • Condoms
  • Contraception / methods
  • Contraception / psychology*
  • Contraception Behavior / psychology*
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female / administration & dosage
  • Contraceptive Devices, Female
  • Contraceptives, Oral
  • Family Planning Services / methods*
  • Female
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Humans
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Unplanned


  • Contraceptive Agents, Female
  • Contraceptives, Oral
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate