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Is Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptive Use Increasing? Assessing Trends Among U.S. College Women, 2008–2013

Maternal and Child Health Journal
Rachel G. Logan, Erika L. Thompson, Cheryl A. Vamos, Stacey B. Griner, Coralia Vázquez-Otero, Ellen M. Daley


Objective To assess LARC use trends among college women (18–24 years) and identify groups that have increased LARC use. Methods Data were extracted from the National College Health Assessment-II (NCHA-II) fall 2008–2013 surveys. Logistic regression statistics were used to assess LARC use. Results Although LARC use increased from 2008 to 2013 (aOR = 2.62; 95% CI 2.23–3.07), less than half of the sample (44%) reported using contraception at last vaginal sex. Only 2.5% of college women in this study reported using a LARC method; of LARC users, 90% reported using an intrauterine device. Nearly all sociodemographic factors were significantly associated with increases in LARC use including: age, sexual orientation, and insurance status. Conclusions LARC use significantly increased among college women. However, less effective methods such as condoms and short-acting reversible contraceptives are used more frequently. Promoting LARC use for women who desire to effectively prevent pregnancy can reduce unintended pregnancy and improve health outcomes for women while in college. Future work should examine the importance of individual and lifestyle factors that influence college women’s decision to choose a LARC method and seek to eliminate barriers to college women choosing a contraceptive method they believe works best for them.

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