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J Adolesc Health. 2013 Jan;52(1):58-63. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.04.015. Epub 2012 Jun 16.

An exploratory analysis of associations between eating disordered symptoms, perceived weight changes, and oral contraceptive discontinuation among young minority women.

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



To explore associations between eating-disordered (ED) symptoms, perceived oral contraceptive (OC)-related weight changes, and OC discontinuation among young minority women.


We conducted a prospective substudy of a randomized controlled trial evaluating the impact of a pill pack supply (3 vs. 7 months) on OC continuation among young urban women presenting to a university-affiliated community-based family planning clinic for OC management. Participants (n = 354) were adolescent (n = 173) and young adult (n = 181) women aged 13-24 years, predominantly underinsured and largely Hispanic (92%). We conducted a structured baseline interview that included an ED screening instrument. At the 6-month follow-up, we conducted a telephone interview to determine OC continuation and dimensions of perceived OC-related weight changes during the study period.


At baseline, 24% of the subjects fulfilled the moderate/severe ED symptom screen criteria (n = 60). By 6 months, 57% of the subjects (n = 200) reported weight changes and 62% (n = 218) had discontinued OC use. Unadjusted discontinuation rates were similar across age- and ED symptom groups. In multivariate analysis, both ED symptoms (odds ratio = .49, 95% confidence interval = .25-.96, p = .04) and perceived weight changes (odds ratio = .60, 95% confidence interval = .38-.94, p = .03) were negatively associated with OC continuation.


ED symptoms and perceived weight changes were associated with an increased likelihood of OC discontinuation among these young women. Reproductive health practitioners should consider psychological symptoms when managing OC.

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