Survey of young women's state of knowledge and perceptions about oral contraceptives in Germany.
Vieth SJ., Hartmann-Boyce J., Maass N., Jani A.
BACKGROUND: In Germany, we see a decline in the use of the oral contraceptive pill. Although there have been studies showing a lack of knowledge about the mode of action of the pill and alternative methods, the number of German women who feel well informed about the pill increased over recent years. At the same time, a trend to increasingly cover negative aspects of oral contraception has emerged in German journalism and social media. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to consider the relationship between the source of information about the pill, subjective and objective knowledge, and how their interaction influences perceptions of the pill. STUDY DESIGN: An online survey was conducted of 18- to 29-year-old women to test their objective and subjective knowledge, their perception of oral contraceptives, and their trust in gynecologists. The recruitment took place online and in gynecologic practices. The survey opened in September 2020 and closed in April 2021. RESULTS: A total of 2470 women completed the survey. The most common sources of information were the internet (80%), the gynecologist (47%), and friends and family (47%). Women reporting the internet as a source of information were more likely to have lower perception and trust rates, and less likely to overestimate their own knowledge. The findings suggest that school or university as a source of information has a positive effect on decision-making and general attitude toward information received by gynecologists about oral contraceptives. Those with higher confidence in their knowledge are likely to have a more positive attitude and higher levels of trust. CONCLUSION: A feeling of uncertainty, instead of fixed assumptions gathered from unsophisticated sources, affects perception regarding oral contraceptives and trust toward gynecologists negatively. Gynecologists and educators should hence increase efforts to meet potential needs for discussing uncertainties to prevent further loss of confidence.