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Depression and Stress Symptoms in Young Women Reduce Effective Use of Contraception

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More than one-third of pregnancies in the United States are unintended and, among teens, more than 80% of pregnancies are unintended. These unintended pregnancies typically occur when couples do not use contraception, misuse contraceptive products, or use only less-effective methods.

Researchers supported by the Population Dynamics Branch studied how depression and psychological stress symptoms affected contraceptive use in young women, age 18 years to 20 years of age.

The scientists’ work showed that women with high levels of stress were more than twice as likely not to use contraception when compared to women with lower stress levels. Women with depression and high stress tended to use less effective contraceptive methods, and to rely on only one contraceptive method rather than using multiple methods for better protection. 

The results indicate that young women at risk for depression and stress may benefit from efforts to increase the use of more effective long-acting contraceptives (PMID: 23582524). 

Last Reviewed: 06/24/2014
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