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Am J Public Health. 2013 Oct;103(10):1857-64. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301371. Epub 2013 Aug 15.

The impact of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse on contraceptive method selection and discontinuation.

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The authors are with Division of Clinical Research, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO.



We evaluated the impact of exposure to emotional, physical, or sexual abuse on contraceptive method selection and discontinuation.


We performed a secondary analysis of 7170 women enrolled in the Contraceptive CHOICE Project in St. Louis, Missouri, a prospective cohort study in which 9256 women were provided their preferred method of contraception at no cost from 2007 to 2011. We defined contraceptive discontinuation as device removal or nonuse for at least 4 weeks within the first 12 months after initiation.


One third of women experienced some abuse in their lifetimes. Women with an abuse history were as likely as those without to select a long-acting reversible contraceptive method and more likely to choose a contraceptive injection, the patch, or the ring. When we compared women who were abused to those who were not, rates of discontinuation at 12 months were higher among women who selected long-acting reversible contraception (17% vs 14%; P = .04) and significantly higher among women who selected non-long-acting methods (56% vs 47%; P < .001). Type of abuse did not alter the association between abuse and contraceptive continuation.


Previous experiences of abuse are associated with both contraceptive method selection and continuation.

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