Princeton University Library Catalog

“It’s Safe, Right?” What Community College Students Know, Don’t Know, and Think They Know About Birth Control

Cabral, Marta [Browse]
Senior thesis
Armstrong, Elizabeth [Browse]
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs [Browse]
Class year:
91 pages
Summary note:
Unintended pregnancy is one of the most important public health problems in the United States today. The Affordable Care Act now includes expansive coverage for all FDA approved methods of contraception, thereby making birth control accessible and affordable for an increasing number of women. Unintended pregnancy rates are highest among young, poor, and uneducated women. Community college students are a population that has a high proportion of low-income young women and men, and unintended pregnancy can jeopardize or delay their degree completion. This thesis uses qualitative data from an ongoing research study being conducted by the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, at the University of California, San Francisco. It analyzes community college students’ knowledge and perceptions of four key methods of birth control, in order to understand use, misuse, and non-use in this population. Findings indicate that community college students lack knowledge about birth control, and that effectiveness in preventing pregnancy is not always the most important factor when choosing a method. Policy makers must take into account criteria that matter to community college students in order to design successful educational interventions about contraception. Interventions must emphasize the importance of preventing pregnancy for degree completion, address other influential factors such as pain, privacy, and future fertility, and promote open discussion between peers about all methods of birth control.