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Contraceptive Method Switching in the United States

William R. Grady, John O. G. Billy and Daniel H. Klepinger
Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health
Vol. 34, No. 3 (May - Jun., 2002), pp. 135-145
Published by: Guttmacher Institute
DOI: 10.2307/3097712
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3097712
Page Count: 11
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Contraceptive Method Switching in the United States
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Abstract

CONTEXT: Switching among contraceptive method types is the primary determinant of the prevalence of use of specific contraceptive methods, and it has direct implications for women's ability to avoid unintended pregnancies. Yet, method switching among U.S. women has received little attention from researchers. METHODS: Data from the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth were used to construct multiple-decrement life tables to explore the gross switching rates of married and unmarried women. Within each group, discrete-time hazard models were estimated to determine how women's characteristics affect their switching behavior. RESULTS: Overall rates of method switching are high among both married and unmarried women (40% and 61%, respectively). Married women's two-year switching rates vary from 30% among women who use the implant, injectable, IUD or other reversible methods to 43% among nonusers, while unmarried women's rates vary from 33% among women who use the implant, injectable or IUD to 70% among nonusers. Multivariate analyses of method switching according to women's characteristics indicate that among married women, women without children are less likely than other women to adopt sterilization or a long-term reversible contraceptive (the implant, injectable or IUD). Older married women have a higher rate than their younger counterparts of switching to sterilization, but are also more likely to continue using no method. Among unmarried women, younger and more highly educated women have high rates of switching to the condom and to dual methods. CONCLUSIONS: Women's method switching decisions may be driven primarily by concerns related to level and duration of contraceptive effectiveness, health risks associated with contraceptive use and, among single women, sexually transmitted disease prevention.

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