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Gilliam , Melissa L., Meredith Warden, Chava Goldstein, and Beatriz Tapia. “Concerns About Contraceptive Side Effects Among Young Latinas: A Focus-Group Approach,” Contraception, 70, no. 4 (2004): 299–305.


In this article, the authors present and discuss findings from a series of focus groups with young, predominantly Mexican-American Latinas to explore their use of contraception. The authors find a high prevalence of fears regarding contraceptive side effects, most of which are based on medical misinformation. Few women discussed real potential side effects. Results suggest that study participants rely more on information that they get from family and friends than the information they get from a medical practitioner. These conclusions point to a number of areas for improvement, primarily relating to establishing greater physician-patient communication and trust. Data from the focus groups helps give meaning to the low contraceptive use among the demographic group represented by the focus group sample. Drawing from study participants’ own words, this article offers important insights into the low contraceptive use among young Latinas. In their discussion, the authors explore the multiple barriers that can contribute to misconceptions and misinformation about contraception, even following a medical visit focused on reproductive health. Connecting young women to heath care, this article shows, is not sufficient to ensure they receive the information they want and need to use it. Rather than discounting the ways that young women prefer to receive contraceptive information, from their communities, this article suggests that practitioners find other ways to get health information to the women who need it.


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Contraception/birth control   Health care   Race/ethnicity: Latina/Hispanic