Predictors of Early Discontinuation of Effective Contraception by Teens at High Risk of Pregnancy

Sofya Maslyanskaya, Susan M. Coupey, Rosy Chhabra, Unab I. Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Study Objective: In the United States, teen pregnancy rates are declining. However, the United States still has the highest teen pregnancy rate among high-income countries. Understanding factors that predict discontinuation of effective contraception might help to further decrease teen pregnancy. We aimed to assess predictors of early discontinuation of effective contraception during typical use by high-risk teens. Design, Setting, Participants, Interventions, and Main Outcome Measures: We recruited 145 women aged 13-20 years (mean, 17.7 ± 1.8 years); 68% (99/145) Hispanic; 26% (38/145) black; 14% (20/145) ever pregnant; and 4% (6/145) high school dropouts who chose an effective contraceptive method during a health care visit and we prospectively assessed use of the method after 6 months. Contraceptive choices of the 130 participants who were reassessed at 6 months (90% retention) were: intrauterine device (IUD), 26% (34/130); depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), 8% (10/130); combined oral contraceptives (COCs), 48% (62/130); transdermal patch (Patch), 13% (17/130); and intravaginal ring (Ring), 5% (7/130). Results: After 6 months, only 49 of 130 (38%) continued their chosen method; 28 of 130 (22%) never initiated the method; and 53 of 130 (40%) discontinued. Users and nonusers at 6 months did not differ according to cultural and/or social characteristics (age, ethnicity, acculturation, education, health literacy) but differed according to contraceptive method type. For the 102 of 130 who initiated a method, 88% continued use of the IUD, 20% DMPA, 43% COC, 17% Patch and Ring (P < .001). Using Cox proportional hazards multivariable analysis, compared with IUDs, all other methods predicted discontinuation: DMPA (hazard ratio [HR], 5.6; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2-26.7; P < .05); COCs (HR, 6.6; 95% CI, 1.8-25; P < .01); Patch and Ring (HR, 12; 95% CI, 3.0-48; P < .001). Discontinuation was also predicted by past use of hormonal contraceptives (HR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.0-3.6; P < .05) and high school dropout (HR, 8.2; 95% CI, 1.6-41; P < .01). Conclusion: Contraceptive method type is the strongest predictor of early discontinuation; compared with IUDs, all other methods are 6-12 times more likely to be discontinued. Cultural and/or social characteristics, with the exception of school dropout, are of little predictive value. Increasing the use of IUDs by high-risk teens could decrease discontinuation rates and possibly teen pregnancy rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-275
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Adolescent pregnancy
  • Contraceptive continuation
  • Hormonal contraceptive
  • Intrauterine device

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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