Online Program

Depressive symptoms and contraceptive method effectiveness among women seeking abortions

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 10:54 a.m. - 11:06 a.m.

Julia R. Steinberg, PhD, Department of Family Science, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, MD
Yassaman Vafai, MPH, Department of Family Science, Maternal and Child Health Program, University of Maryland College Park, College Park, MD
The focus on whether abortion causes depression has resulted in neglecting an examination of the extent to which depressive symptoms contribute to unintended pregnancies. Understanding psychosocial barriers to using effective contraceptive methods is important to reducing unintended pregnancy. Little research has focused on whether psychological health is associated with using more versus less effective contraceptive methods. Sampling 462 women seeking abortions at three reproductive health clinics, we examine the extent to which more depressive symptoms are associated with self-reported past and intended contraceptive use. Women experiencing more depressive [OR = 0.96, 95% CI: 0.94-.99] symptoms were less likely to report having used long-acting reversible contraceptive methods [LARC] in the past compared to women experiencing more depressive and anxiety symptoms. Those experiencing more depressive symptoms were less likely to plan to use moderately effective methods (i.e., pill, patch, ring, or shot) [OR = 0.97, 95% CI: 0.95-0.99] and marginally less likely to plan to use LARC methods [OR = 0.98, 95% CI: 0.96-1.00] post-abortion compared to low effective methods (e.g., no methods or condoms). In contrast to similar research with women obtaining abortions, these results suggest that women experiencing more pre-abortion depressive symptoms may be at higher risk for subsequent unintended pregnancies. Consequently, helping women reduce their depressive symptoms may prevent future unintended pregnancies.

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the existing literature on depressive symptoms and contraceptive behaviors Compare effectiveness level of contraceptive methods used and planning to use by depressive symptomatology among women having abortions

Keyword(s): Contraception, Mental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am analyzing the data for this project, and I am carefully reviewing the literature on this topic.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.