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Contraception. 2012 Nov;86(5):518-25. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2012.04.010. Epub 2012 Jun 4.

Influence of depressed mood and psychological stress symptoms on perceived oral contraceptive side effects and discontinuation in young minority women.

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Office of Population Research, Center for Health and Wellbeing, Princeton University, 228 Wallace Hall, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA.



We examined the influence of depressed mood and psychological stress on oral contraceptive (OC) side effects and discontinuation.


We administered standard psychological instruments to 354 young women (13-24 years old) beginning a 6-month OC continuation intervention trial and questions on OC side effects and use at 6 months. Logisitic regression determined the relationships between psychological conditions, perceived OC side effects and continuation rates.


Baseline depressed mood (21%) and stress (19%) and 6-month mood (25%) and weight changes (57%) were relatively common. Only 38% continued OCs at 6 months. Depressed mood [odds ratio (OR) 2.27, confidence interval (CI) 1.25-4.15, p=.007] and stress (OR 2.07, CI 1.12-3.82, p=.02) were associated with perceived OC-related moodiness; depressed mood was associated with perceived weight loss (OR 1.89, CI 1.01-3.55, p=.05). Depressed mood (OR 0.54, CI 0.29-0.99, p=.04), stress (OR 0.48, CI 0.25-0.91, p=.03) and perceived weight change (OR 0.60, CI 0.38-0.94, p=.03) all reduced the likelihood of OC continuation.


Young women with adverse psychological symptoms are at risk for perceived OC side effects and discontinuation.

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