Objectives: U.S. Latinas experience disproportionately high rates of unintended pregnancy and low rates of consistent contraception use. Not well known are Latinas' perspectives about how primary care physicians (PCPs) might facilitate or deter contraceptive decision making. The theory of planned behavior has been used previously to explain contraceptive behaviors. This study used the theory of planned behavior as a guide to help describe Latinas' perspectives regarding specific factors that influence their contraceptive decision making and to describe their perspectives about the role of PCPs in the decision making. Study Design and Methods: We conducted focus groups (n = 3) and interviews (n = 8) of Latinas ages 15 to 24 years, recruited from urban primary care sites in Baltimore, Maryland. Concepts from the theory of planned behavior were used to develop a coding scheme and guide identification of themes. Results: Sixteen Latinas participated; all were immigrants. Themes: The desire to avoid unintended pregnancy is dominant and, not surprisingly, is the main driver of contraceptive intentions. The role of PCPs in contraceptive decision making is to build strong patient relationships through heightened communication and trust. PCPs should develop trust and foster communication by using a shared decision-making approach in contraceptive counseling. Religious norms rarely operate as barriers to contraceptive use, yet positive reinforcement from family, friends, and schools is viewed as supportive. Conclusions and Implications: For this group of young, immigrant Latinas, there is a pervasive desire for effective communication and trusting relationships with PCPs. Findings suggest that providers can facilitate contraceptive decision making for this population by using a shared decision-making approach to contraceptive counseling.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Maternity and Midwifery