Experiences of everyday discrimination, inside or outside medical settings, can take a significant toll on Latina women’s comfort with reproductive health services, according to a new study published in the journal Women’s Health Issues.
The findings show that young Latina women who have experienced racial or ethnic discrimination are less satisfied overall with their contraceptive care, which could affect their access to more effective contraceptives.
The aim of the study was to better understand the factors that may impact Latinas’ satisfaction with contraceptive services. A total of 211 women, ages 18-25, participated in the study, which included surveys and interviews.
About 40 percent of the participants were born in the U.S. and about 60 percent were born outside the U.S. Among the foreign-born, the average length of U.S. residency was 8.4 years, with a range of less than six months to 24 years.
Initially, the researchers found that experiences of discrimination, medical mistrust and structural barriers to care, such as trouble with childcare or getting time off work to see a doctor, were tied to low satisfaction. But when considering all of these influences together, they found that everyday instances of discrimination had the biggest impact on women’s satisfaction.
It is important for young women of reproductive age to have access to effective contraceptives to prevent unintended pregnancies, according to researchers. The most effective methods of birth control, including hormonal pills or implantable devices, can only be obtained through a medical provider.