Effect of peer counselors on adolescent compliance in use of oral contraceptives

M. S. Jay, R. H. DuRant, T. Shoffitt, Charles W Linder, I. F. Litt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Poor compliance with contraceptive regimens has been shown to be an important antecedent of adolescent pregnancy. The purpose of this study was to test prospectively the effect of a peer v nurse counseling program on adolescent compliance with the use of oral contraceptives. Fifty-seven females aged 14 to 19 years from a lower socioeconomic background were randomly assigned to a peer (n = 26) or nurse (n = 31) group. At the initial visit and at 1-, 2- and 4-month follow-up visits, subjects received Ortho-Novum 1/35 combined with a tablet marker and were counseled by a nurse or peer. Noncompliance was measured using a Guttman scale consisting of: (1) avoidance of pregnancy, (2) appointment adherence, (3) pill count, and (4) urinary fluorescence for riboflavin. At the first and second follow-ups, the adolescents counseled by a peer had a significantly (P ≤.038) lower noncompliance level than the nurse-counseled group. Adolescents with more frequent sexual activity (P ≤.027) with one sexual partner (P <.04) and who worried that they might become pregnant (P ≤.01) had significantly lower levels of noncompliance when counseled by a peer than by a nurse. At the fourth month follow-up, adolescents who expressed feelings of hopelessness about the future had significantly (P ≤.036) higher levels of noncompliance when counseled by a nurse than when counseled by a peer. These results suggest that incorporating a peer counseler into the health care team may be an effective method of increasing adolescent compliance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-131
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 5 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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