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Impact of Contraceptive Education on Knowledge and Decision Making: An Updated Systematic Review

      Context

      Educational interventions can help individuals increase their knowledge of available contraceptive methods, enabling them to make informed decisions and use contraception correctly. This review updates a previous review of contraceptive education.

      Evidence acquisition

      Multiple databases were searched for articles published March 2011–November 2016. Primary outcomes were knowledge, participation in and satisfaction/comfort with decision making, attitudes toward contraception, and selection of more effective methods. Secondary outcomes included contraceptive behaviors and pregnancy. Excluded articles described interventions that had no comparison group, could not be conducted feasibly in a clinic setting, or were conducted outside the U.S. or similar country.

      Evidence synthesis

      A total of 24,953 articles were identified. Combined with the original review, 37 articles met inclusion criteria and described 31 studies implementing a range of educational approaches (interactive tools, written materials, audio/videotapes, and text messages), with and without healthcare provider feedback, for a total of 36 independent interventions. Of the 31 interventions for which knowledge was assessed, 28 had a positive effect. Fewer were assessed for their effect on attitudes toward contraception, selection of more effective methods, contraceptive behaviors, or pregnancy—although increased knowledge was found to mediate additional outcomes (positive attitudes toward contraception and contraceptive continuation).

      Conclusions

      This systematic review is consistent with evidence from the broader healthcare field in suggesting that a range of interventions can increase knowledge. Future studies should assess what aspects are most effective, the benefits of including provider feedback, and the extent to which educational interventions can facilitate behavior change and attainment of reproductive health goals.

      Theme information

      This article is part of a theme issue entitled Updating the Systematic Reviews Used to Develop the U.S. Recommendations for Providing Quality Family Planning Services, which is sponsored by the Office of Population Affairs, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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