Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Tessa Solomon-Lane

Reader 2

Melissa Coleman

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© 2023 Sophia M Drezner


Pregnancy prevention and female reproductive freedom have been some of the most contested political issues for decades. Abortion, a fundamental part of women’s healthcare, divides liberals and conservatives on an international scale. The consequences of unintended pregnancy without safe and reliable contraception are widespread, disproportionately impacting women of color, trans and non-binary folks, and poorer communities. The birth control pill is the most common form of oral contraception (OC) globally. Many people with ovaries begin the pill or other hormonal contraceptive (HC) methods as young as 11 years old. Exogenous progesterone and estrogen are known to impact mood, affect, physiology, and behavior. Ongoing research examining the relationship between OCs and affective disorders has yielded controversial results. Studies in various countries have different conclusions – a significant negative correlation with OC use and positive affect, some significant negative effect depending on age, or no significant relationship with mental health or quality of life between women taking or not taking OCs. Young women are more likely to develop an affective disorder like depression than men of the same age group. This vulnerability cannot be overlooked when considering the effects of HCs on mood. This review analyzes and contextualizes current data on the relationship between OCs and mental health disorders and provides future directions for research on this topic.