Pediatricians' beliefs and prescribing patterns of adolescent contraception: a provider survey

J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 2013 Dec;26(6):340-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jpag.2013.06.012. Epub 2013 Sep 26.


Study objective: Teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection (STI) rates continue to be significant public health problems in the United States. While general pediatricians are in a unique position to improve these issues by addressing contraception with their adolescent patients, there are no data describing their current prescribing patterns. This study sought to elucidate the beliefs and prescribing patterns of general pediatricians and pediatrics residents and to distinguish whether these were affected by practice setting, level of training, or gender.

Design, setting, participants: General pediatricians and pediatrics residents affiliated with Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago, IL, were asked to complete a survey regarding adolescent contraception.

Main outcome measures: Questions were related to obtaining information about contraception, contraceptive counseling, knowledge of contraceptive methods, prescribing patterns of contraceptives, and concerns about individual contraceptive methods.

Results: 120 physicians of an eligible 411 physicians participated in this study (29%). 79% of participants had prescribed at least 1 contraceptive method. The most commonly prescribed method was oral contraceptive pills at 72%. We noted few differences in prescribing patterns based on above criteria. Numerous misconceptions existed among participants, including a high rate of concern about infertility with IUD use (29% among physicians who prescribed at least 1 method of contraception).

Conclusions: General pediatricians can improve their rates of prescribing contraception to adolescents, and could utilize more of the approved methods. One way to do so may be to implement educational interventions among general pediatricians.

Keywords: Adolescent health; Contraception; Physician's practice patterns.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Contraception* / methods
  • Contraception* / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Male
  • Pediatrics
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*