Why women select reproductive health centers: A descriptive study

Peter Preziosi, University of Pennsylvania


As health care delivery transforms, its impact on women, especially vulnerable populations, who select reproductive health centers has yet to be determined. As reproductive health centers and managed care organizations determine their future, it is important to understand how systems can be structured to better meet the health care needs of women.^ This study examines the structural, financial, and personal barriers that influence women's selection of reproductive health services provided by Planned Parenthood and their intention to use broader health services. Following a description of the women who use any one of 20 Planned Parenthood health centers, comparisons were made between those who use only Planned Parenthood and those who use another health provider in addition to Planned Parenthood.^ Analysis of the national sample of 1,455 Planned Parenthood female clients reveals that participants were predominantly white, poor, and unmarried, between 19 and 29 years of age, with a high school diploma. Those whose only source of care is Planned Parenthood were poorer and less educated than women who use another health provider in addition to Planned Parenthood. Most respondents used a private physician (37%) in addition to Planned Parenthood, but nearly 25% said they used only Planned Parenthood for their health care needs. Most participants thought every characteristic of Planned Parenthood services was very important, but that quality medical care and clear answers to questions were the most important.^ Though most participants said that they had no health problems, the most commonly reported were depression and eye problems. On the survey day, more participants said they sought a pelvic service than any other service; few came for an abortion or pregnancy test. All respondents said they want and would use a broader range of health services if offered by Planned Parenthood. However, most participants using only Planned Parenthood were more likely to say they would use additional services.^ Furthermore, a much higher percentage in each group preferred a female practitioner, even a female nurse to a male physician. Seventy-four percent of women surveyed paid out-of-pocket to receive health services. In addition, more respondents said they were unable to pay for services than those with insurance or Medicaid. Women are willing to pay out-of-pocket, even when they have access to a regular source of health care, for services at a reproductive health center.^ This study found that women want a broad range of low cost, high quality health services provided by female practitioners who offer clear answers to their health care questions. ^

Subject Area

Women's Studies|Health Sciences, Nursing|Health Sciences, Public Health|Health Sciences, Health Care Management

Recommended Citation

Preziosi, Peter, "Why women select reproductive health centers: A descriptive study" (1996). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9627989.