One of the projects that is just getting off the ground in the Laboratory for Evolutionary Endocrinology is the study of hormonal contraception in young women. We will be exploring the science behind it -- when is it useful to young girls and women, when is it not, what future health implications does it have -- but also the relationships between health care providers and patients regarding this drug.
I am developing a hypothesis regarding when health care providers prescribe hormonal contraceptives. For now, and this is before I have delved into the literature on this, I would like to test the conditions under which it is prescribed for a health complaint, and the conditions under which the health complaint is further explored instead. My suspicion is that when a woman goes to her PCP with a reproductive health issue but is not currently interested in having children, she is often prescribed hormonal contraceptives. When a woman goes to her PCP with a reproductive health issue and is interested in having children, the possible health concern is explored.
I would like to test this hypothesis and others using an online survey in the coming months. As we work to put the survey together and obtain IRB approval, I would like to solicit your thinking. What kinds of questions should we ask? What population should we seek for answers? Should we survey doctors as well as patients? What hypotheses would you want to see tested?
Put your questions and comments in the comments section of this post. If I get a lot of clarification queries, I will post more information about what we're thinking to give you more ideas.