Program

Jun 18, 2015

OVERVIEW

Bedsider is a free online support network, targeted toward women in their late teens and twenties, which provides information and resources related to the prevention of unplanned pregnancy. A randomized controlled trial demonstrated positive impacts on incidence of pregnancy scares, unintended pregnancy, using effective contraceptive methods, incidence of recent unprotected sex, and familiarity with various types of contraception.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Women in the United States ages 18 to 29

Bedsider is a freely available website and online support network that aims to reduce the incidence of unplanned pregnancy in in women and their teens and twenties by teaching them about their options for birth control and helping them manage birth control more effectively. Bedsider takes a sex-positive stance instead of a focus on risk, and the website’s messages focus on reinforcement and reward of positive behaviors that reduce women’s risk of unintended pregnancy.

The website combines a number of components, providing high-level information on birth control methods while also making more concrete referrals to help women access birth control. For example, it contains tools to help users find nearby birth control providers such as clinics, and allows users to set reminders to use birth control or to keep appointments. It also incorporates animated shorts that debunk birth control myths in humorous ways, and videos of users’ peers discussing their personal experiences with birth controls.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Antonishak, J., Kaye, K., & Swiader, L. (2015). Impact of an Online Birth Control Support Network on Unintended Pregnancy. Social Marketing Quarterly, 21(1), 23-36.

Evaluated Population: The study sample for this evaluation was made up of 2,284 women between the ages of 18 and 29. About 56 percent of participants were Caucasian, 17 percent were African-American, 19 percent were Latina, and about 9 percent were of other ethnicities. At baseline, the average age of participants was 22.4 years. Just under 44 percent had completed some college or had an associate degree, and about 19 percent had a Bachelor’s degree or higher. Seventy percent of participants were sexually experienced at baseline, and 17 percent reported having had an unintended pregnancy at some point in their lives. All participants were unmarried, not currently pregnant, did not intend to become pregnant in the following six months, were not currently using an IUD or implant, and had not been sterilized.

Approach: Participants were recruited online through the KnowledgePanel web tool, which provides a nationally representative sample based on Census data, and were randomized at the individual level into one of two groups: a control group that was not exposed to the Bedsider website and a treatment group that was. Those in the treatment group were shown a short video introducing the website, were encouraged to use it, received a quarterly email (between survey periods) providing content related to the website, and were directed to a section of the website after each survey and asked how likely it was that they would visit the site again. Data were collected by online surveys at baseline and at three follow-ups: four, eight, and 12 months after baseline.

Surveys measured a number of behavioral and non-behavioral outcomes. Participants reported incidence of pregnancy scares, unintended pregnancy, contraceptive method (coded onto an effectiveness scale), consistency of use for their contraceptive method or methods, and incidence of unprotected sex in the past four weeks. Two knowledge outcomes were measured: familiarity with different methods of contraception, and knowledge of the relative effectiveness of different methods. Data from all eligible participants who completed the 12-month follow up (1,598) were analyzed. Twenty-four percent of participants did not complete the 12-month follow-up, five percent got married, and one percent reported trying to get pregnant at the time of the follow-up, resulting in their exclusion from the analysis. At baseline, control and treatment groups were equivalent across demographic characteristics, but the control group lost more Latina participants than the treatment group by the final follow-up. For both groups, those lost to follow-up were more likely to have had an unintended pregnancy prior to the baseline assessment and had lower levels of education compared to those remaining in the analysis.

Results: At the 12-month follow-up, women in the control group were more likely than those in the treatment group to report having had a pregnancy scare (OR of 1.51), an unintended pregnancy (OR of 3.79), or unprotected sex in the previous four weeks (OR of 2.54). Women in the treatment group had a significantly greater increase in the effectiveness of their chosen contraceptive method, from 1.41 to 1.67 on an effectiveness scale, compared to 1.28 to 1.33 in the control group. Additionally, treatment group members had significantly greater familiarity with different contraceptive methods than did control group members. There were no significant differences between treatment and control group women on consistency of contraceptive use or knowledge of the relative effectiveness of contraceptive methods.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References

Antonishak, J., Kaye, K., & Swiader, L. (2015). Impact of an Online Birth Control Support Network on Unintended Pregnancy. Social Marketing Quarterly, 21(1), 23-36.

Website: http://www.bedsider.org

KEYWORDS: Young Adults (18-24), Female only, Computer-based, Births, Teen Pregnancy, Sexual Activity, Condom Use and Contraception

Program information last updated 3/10/15.

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