An exploratory analysis of contraceptive method choice and symptoms of depression in adolescent females initiating prescription contraception

Jenny Francis, Liandra Presser, Katherine Malbon, Debra Braun-Courville, Lourdes Oriana Linares

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objective We examine the association between depressive symptoms and contraceptive method choice among adolescents initiating prescription contraception. Study design This cross-sectional study analyzes baseline data of 220 urban, minority adolescent females (ages 15-19 years) presenting for prescription contraceptive initiation at a comprehensive, free-of-cost, adolescent health center in New York City. All participants met with a health care provider who provided standard contraception counseling before initiating contraception. Each participant then selected a short- or long-acting contraceptive: a 3-month supply of the pill, patch, ring or a medroxyprogesterone acetate depot injection (short-acting), or placement/referral for an intrauterine device (IUD; long-acting). We assess the independent association between contraceptive method selection and symptoms of depression [assessed by the Center for Epidemiological Studies - Depression (CES-D) scale]. Results Ten percent (n=21/220) of adolescent females selected an IUD. Bivariate analysis revealed that those with elevated levels of depressive symptoms were more likely to select an IUD as compared to those with minimal symptoms (mean CES-D score 20 vs. 13; t=3.052, p=.003). In multivariate logistic regressions, adolescent females had increased odds of selecting an IUD if they reported moderate to severe depressive symptoms (adjusted odds ratio=4.93; confidence interval, 1.53-15.83; p=.007) after controlling for ethnicity/race, education, number of lifetime partners and gravidity. Conclusions Inner-city, minority adolescents with elevated symptoms of depression who present for prescription contraceptive initiation may be more likely to select an IUD rather than shorter-acting methods. By recognizing adolescent females with depressive symptoms, providers can strategize their approach to effective contraception counseling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-343
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2015


  • Birth control
  • Contraception
  • Depressive symptoms
  • IUD
  • Mental health
  • Selection or choice


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