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Emergency Misconceptions: Emergency Contraceptive Services in Children's Hospital Emergency Departments

Kavanaugh, Megan Lynn (2005) Emergency Misconceptions: Emergency Contraceptive Services in Children's Hospital Emergency Departments. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Timely use of emergency contraception after all contraceptive failures could prevent up to 50% of all unintended pregnancies. In 2002, 85% of adolescents' pregnancies were unintended, resulting in almost 500,000 births and 235,000 abortions. Emergency contraceptive services may be especially useful to adolescents because of their erratic patterns of sexual behavior and contraceptive use. Providing these services during emergency department hospital visits is vitally important in helping adolescents to prevent unwanted pregnancies. This IRB-approved study aimed to expand upon current data in the literature by assessing the type and amount of emergency contraceptive services provided to adolescents in these hospital settings nationwide. Research included in this thesis represents a pilot study of thirty-two physicians who work in twenty-one children's hospital emergency departments across the United States. Telephone surveys were conducted with these physicians to assess the types of EC services available in their emergency departments and their attitudes regarding these services. Recommendations for undertaking a full-scale study of this same target population include improving response rates by modifying the survey administration protocol and increasing the number of contacts made with each physician.Results indicate that children's hospital emergency department physicians are not meeting the current standard of care for emergency contraceptive counseling and prescribing practices with adolescents. These results support the need for increased education and awareness for emergency department physicians in children's hospitals regarding emergency contraception and strategies to optimally communicate this information to their adolescent patients. The relevance of public health in this thesis is exemplified by the potential of the research to inform both the public health and medical communities about how emergency contraception is provided to female adolescents in children's hospital emergency departments. Comparison of results from both this pilot study and the full-scale study that will be based on this pilot study may lead to legislative and hospital policy change to improve the availability of emergency contraceptive services to adolescents, and hence to a reduction in the unintended pregnancy rate among adolescents.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Kavanaugh, Megan Lynnmlc27@pitt.eduMLC27
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairTerry, Martha Annmaterry@pitt.eduMATERRY
Committee MemberGold, Melanie Amagold@pitt.eduMAGOLD
Committee MemberHershey, Nathanhershey@pitt.eduHERSHEY
Date: 15 June 2005
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 4 April 2005
Approval Date: 15 June 2005
Submission Date: 12 April 2005
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: adolescents; EC; ECPs; emergency contraception; emergency departments; morning-after pill; Plan B; sexual assault
Other ID:, etd-04122005-125431
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:35
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:39


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