Knowledge and Attitudes About Sterilization and Long-Acting Reversible Contraception

Andrea Leung, Andrew Loh, Sara Pentlicky, Elizabeth P. Gurney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objectives: To describe understanding of the irreversible nature of permanent contraception and knowledge and attitudes about long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) among individuals seeking and not seeking permanent contraception. Methods: We performed a cross-sectional survey among patients with Medicaid insurance attending an obstetrics and gynecology clinic in [location]. The survey consisted of 20 true/false and Likert questions assessing knowledge and perceptions about permanent contraception and LARC. Sixty-seven participants were needed to detect a small-to-medium Cohen’s effect size f2 = 0.20, with 95% power and alpha = 0.05. Results: Ninety potential participants were contacted and 67 were recruited. Forty-three participants desired permanent contraception and 24 did not. Approximately half of all participants were not aware that permanent contraception is irreversible. Participants who desired permanent contraception had lower LARC knowledge scores (62% correct versus 70%, p = 0.042) and more negative perceptions about LARC (54% versus 38%, p = 0.048). Fewer participants desiring permanent contraception identified LARC efficacy as equal to permanent contraception (32% versus 83%, p < 0.01), and fewer would consider using LARC (intrauterine device: 23% versus 58%, p < 0.01; implant: 16% versus 46%, p < 0.01). These differences persisted in multivariable models adjusting for age, gravidity, and parity. Conclusions for Practice: Individuals who desire permanent contraception may not be aware of its permanence, or of equally effective alternatives. They were also found to have more negative perceptions of LARC in our sample. Additional research is needed to understand factors underlying these differences. Counseling practices should be tailored to ensure accurate knowledge about permanent contraception and LARC for all people seeking to avoid pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1336-1344
Number of pages9
JournalMaternal and child health journal
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Contraceptive counseling
  • Long-acting reversible contraception
  • Permanent contraception
  • Tubal sterilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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