The role of the social network in contraceptive decision-making among young, African American and Latina Women

Lynn Yee, Melissa Simon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations


Purpose: Understanding reasons for contraception decisions is critical to improving our ability to reduce rates of unintended pregnancies. We used an in-depth qualitative approach to examine the contraceptive decision-making process, with special attention to the role of the social network, among a group of young, postpartum urban minority women. Methods: Brief surveys and semi-structured interviews were conducted with 30 consenting postpartum women. In-person one-on-one interviews were then reviewed for themes using an iterative process. Qualitative analysis techniques identifying emergent themes were applied to interview data. Results: In this cohort of African American (63%) and Hispanic (37%) women (median age, 26), 73% had unplanned pregnancies. The social network, including friends, mothers, and partners, were key sources of contraception myths, misconceptions, and vicarious experiences. Women also utilized media, including the internet, as an additional source of information. Information relayed by the social network had a direct influence on contraceptive decisions for many women. Conclusions: The experiences and opinions of the social network influence contraceptive decisions in this population of young, minority women. The social network, including friends, family members, and media sources, is a key source of contraceptive information for many women. Comprehensive contraception counseling should explore the experiences and opinions of the patient's social network to the extent possible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)374-380
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • Contraception
  • Contraception misconceptions
  • Myths
  • Qualitative analysis
  • Social network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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