The Adoption of a New Contraceptive Method – Surveys and Interventions Regarding Emergency Contraception

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: The overall aim of this thesis was to examine the adoption of emergency contraceptive pills (ECP) in Sweden. Two cross-sectional surveys and two quasi-experimental studies were used. Reasons for induced abortion, contraceptive practices and contraceptive failure were examined in a group of abortion applicants with a waiting-room questionnaire (I) and knowledge, use and practices of ECP were assessed with a postal questionnaire in a population-based sample of young women (II). One community-based information campaign was evaluated with a repeated postal questionnaire (III) and a school-based education intervention was evaluated with repeated class-room questionnaires (IV). Abortion applicants had inadequate contraceptive practices and a low use of ECP. One year after the deregulation of ECP women were highly aware of the method and preferred the pharmacy for the purchase of ECP. Correct knowledge and positive attitudes influenced the willingness to use ECP in the future. The information campaign was noticed by two-thirds of the women and there was an overall trend towards better knowledge, improved attitudes and increased use among all women at follow-up. The school-based intervention improved the students’ knowledge of, and attitudes to, ECP without jeopardizing condom use. The adoption of ECP in Sweden seems to have gone through the first stages of diffusion of an innovation, i.e., developement, dissemination, and adoption, and has reached the stage of implementation since the studies indicated a general awareness of more than 90%, an intention to use in case of need of more than 70%, and womens’ own experience of use of around 30%. The most cited information channels were media, friends and the local Youth Clinic. ECP is gradually becoming a more widely known, accepted and used contraceptive method in Sweden, but must be considered as being only one of many tools in the prevention of unintended pregnancies.