Using the Social-Ecological Model to Understand the Current Perspective of Contraceptive Use in the United States: A Narrative Literature Review Academic Article uri icon


  • Contraceptive use is deemed one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century because its benefits are universally acknowledged as a cornerstone for reducing global maternal morbidity and mortality. However, although the adoption of the Affordable Care Act in the United States (US) enhanced access to preventive health services, as well as increased contraceptive use, a considerable proportion of reproductive-aged women still have unmet reproductive health needs. Current data indicates gaps in contraceptive use patterns in the US, particularly among low-income women and those from racial/ethnic and gender minority subgroups, necessitating further investigation using an ecological approach. This narrative literature review aims to investigate the current perspective of contraceptive use in the US using the social-ecological model (SEM). Based on SEM levels, barriers to contraceptive use entail the following levels: individual (e.g., misbelief about the side effects of contraceptives), interpersonal (e.g., influence of family and friends), institutional (e.g., lack of training on how to use different types of contraceptives), community (e.g., societal stigma and shame), and policy (e.g., restrictive federal and states policies). Access to contraceptives for women is a system-level issue that necessitates consideration for multilevel strategies by key stakeholders to improve contraceptive uptake among vulnerable populations.

published proceedings

  • Women

author list (cited authors)

  • Ajayi, K. V., Panjwani, S., Wilson, K., & Garney, W. R.

complete list of authors

  • Ajayi, Kobi V||Panjwani, Sonya||Wilson, Kelly||Garney, Whitney R