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June 3, 1968

Ovulation Suppressors, Psychological Functioning, and Marital Adjustment

Author Affiliations

From the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

JAMA. 1968;204(10):849-853. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140230007002

In a series of 39 couples (studied intensively over a four-year period which began just before their first use of oral contraceptives) 15 wives used the pills throughout the study, while 9 discontinued them permanently. Side effects were equivalent in both of these groups and were therefore nonpredictive of who would stop taking the pills. The wives who continued to take the pills were relatively more responsible and more intellectually and socially effective than their husbands. Relative to their husbands, they also preferred sexual intercourse more often than did the wives who discontinued. Husbands of the wives who discontinued were more concerned about propriety and reputation than were husbands of the wives who continued. Psychological functioning of both husband and wife tended to improve in the couples continuing the use of the pills as compared to the ones who did not. Of special note, depression decreased and sexual interest increased in those who continued. Three unplanned pregnancies in the ten women who discontinued the pills permanently or temporarily would indicate a need for caution in the recommendation of ovulation suppressor contraception for couples in which the husband is clearly the dominant spouse.