Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Adam Tyma


The overturn of the US Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision in June of 2022 led to 41 states with partial or total abortion bans (Guttmacher Institute, 2024). Additionally, in 2023 SCOTUS agreed to hear a case on the access to Mifepristone, a prescription drug commonly referred to as the “abortion pill” (NPR, 2023). Threatened and waning access to various forms of reproductive healthcare led to the question of how these topics, such as contraception, are being framed and whether these messages affect audiences. The added layer of inequitable access to healthcare for women and men furthers this inquiry past messaging effects and into the realm of gender studies and equity. The above reality is the motivation for the following study.

The purpose of this qualitative focus group study is to explore the effects of contraceptive messaging in young adult, mixed-gender audiences. The central question of this study is what effects contraceptive messages have on audiences. Utilizing the transcripts from interviews conducted with 19-24-year-old male and female participants, both thematic and discursive analyses were used to explore the effects of the messages on audiences, as well as the audience response to said messages. Two focus groups were conducted with 4 participants each. Each focus group followed the same semi-structured interview protocol before recordings were transcribed. This study identified six key themes: (1) biased awareness of contraception, (2) confusion due to contradicting/misleading information, (3) aversion to hormonal contraceptives, (4) women at the center of contraception, (4a) contraception is a woman’s choice, (4b) contraception is a woman’s responsibility, (5) preference for personal testimonials, (5a) on social media, (5b) on blog forums, and (6) preference for nonprofit organizations. Ultimately, this exploratory study presents findings on what sources audiences trust to share contraceptive information and illuminates challenges to preconceived notions about reproductive responsibility in audiences.


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