Authors: Samandari G, O'Connell K
In Cambodia, 79% of married women ages 15 to 49 years wish to limit or delay births', yet only 27% are using a modern method of contraception. This paper reports on the results of a qualitative study to understand the different characteristics of and barriers to the use of contraceptives (particularly hormonal contraceptives) among current users, women who have discontinued contraceptive use, and women who have never used a modern method. Over several weeks in December 2006, the researchers conducted 14 in-depth interviews and 10 focus group discussions with different contraceptive user types in Pursat Province, Cambodia. A total of 84 women were included in the study. Findings showed that rumors of myths and misconceptions about side effects of hormonal contraceptives were the main barriers to the use and were wide-spread among all women. Differences between the three user types showed that positive husband support, access to health providers, and a high degree of self-efficacy for contraceptive use may have contributed to successful initiation and continuation of modern methods. This research has practical implications for programmatic applications. Results may be used to design efforts aimed at reducing misconceptions about contraceptive methods and increasing partner and provider support for women's use of hormonal contraceptives.