Lisa McDaid completed a qualitative PhD study examining patterns of use during young women's early years of sexual activity in 2007.
The project, examining patterns of contraceptive use among young women from the East of Scotland, found that contraceptive discontinuation and method switching was common. Ease of access and social norms around use encouraged condom use but the young women’s personal dislike of the method and their experiences of condom failure resulted in change to the pill, particularly once they were in relationships with boyfriends. The pill was perceived to be more reliable, and its non-contraceptive benefits, particularly menstrual regulation, encouraged continued use. Use of long acting reversible contraceptives, such as the injection, was only initiated when the young women experienced major problems with the pill. Emergency contraception was an important ‘back-up’ method. Each young woman had her own specific experience of contraceptive use, but overall three patterns were apparent: consistent, complex and chaotic. Consistent contraceptive users were characterised by uniform and regular use over time; complex by manageable change depending on relationships, partner type, and their experiences of use; and chaotic by frequent method changes and multiple experiences of contraceptive failure, which were further complications in their already, somewhat disordered lives.
McDaid LM, Sweeting H, Buston K. Contraception among girls who have had more than one partner by age 16 years: method use and pregnancy risk-taking behaviour. Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care 2010;36:141-6pubmed open access
Williamson LM, Buston K, Sweeting H. Young women and limits to the normalisation of condom use: a qualitative study. AIDS Care 2009;21:561-566pubmed open access
Williamson LM, Buston K, Sweeting H. Young women’s continued use of oral contraceptives over other hormonal methods: findings from a qualitative study. Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care 2009;35:167-172pubmed open access
Williamson LM, Buston K, Sweeting H. Young women’s perceptions of pregnancy risk and use of emergency contraception: findings from a qualitative study – Authors’ Reply. Contraception 2009;80:591-2
Williamson LM, Buston K, Sweeting H. Young women’s perceptions of pregnancy risk and use of emergency contraception: findings from a qualitative study. Contraception 2009;79:310-5pubmed open access
Williamson LM. Contraceptive careers: young women's choices, influences and risks [PhD], MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit 2007.open access
Williamson LM, Buston K, Sweeting H. Consistency, complexity or chaos: a qualitative study of young women's patterns of contraceptive use. European Journal of Contraception & Reproductive Health Care 2004;9:175