Young women's attitudes towards, and experiences of, long-acting reversible contraceptives

Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care. 2014 Aug;19(4):276-84. doi: 10.3109/13625187.2014.917623. Epub 2014 Jun 2.


Objectives: To identify factors involved in women's decisions to choose particular contraceptive methods and more specifically, incentives and disincentives to use three long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods: injectables, implants, and intrauterine devices/systems (IUDs/IUSs).

Methods: A total of 502 women aged 18 to 30 completed a cross-sectional online questionnaire.

Results: The three most important factors in choosing a contraceptive method were: high efficacy at preventing pregnancy, protection against sexually transmitted infections, and non-interference with sexual intercourse. The most common incentives for LARC use were the high efficacy and long duration of action. Disincentives included the possibility of irregular bleeding and concerns about effects on fertility; fear of needles and pain was a particular disincentive for IUD/IUS use. Only 93 (18%) of the participants reported ever having used a LARC.

Conclusions: Reported disincentives to LARC use (e.g., concern about effects on future fertility) indicated that many young women hold inaccurate beliefs about these methods. The relatively high proportions of women who held neutral attitudes about LARCs (21-40%, depending on the method) highlight the importance of education and contraceptive counselling to improve knowledge about the advantages of these methods.

Keywords: Contraceptive implant; Contraceptive injection; Intrauterine device; Intrauterine system; Long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC); Young women.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Contraceptive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Delayed-Action Preparations / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Fertility / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Contraceptive Agents
  • Delayed-Action Preparations