Reproductive Counseling Obstacle Scale

The Reproductive Counseling Obstacle Scale (RCOS) is a 20-item measure that identifies the degree to which barriers are interfering with the delivery of family planning information to clients. The scale is a multidimensional measure that reflects motivation, self-efficacy, intrinsic self-reinforcement and environmental factors, which are the basic concepts and assumptions associated with Social Cognitive Theory.


Geographies Tested: United States of America

Populations Included: Female, Male

Age Range: Adolescents, Adults


For the following items of this section, use this scale to indicate your degree of agreement or disagreement with each statement. Circle either strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree, or strongly agree for each item.

1. I am very knowledgeable about current family planning options
2. I am very aware of all community resources available to my clients for contraception
3. Sometimes my professional ethics conflict with my religious values
4. In the course of my work as a social worker I have been discouraged from discussing family planning with clients due to the moral objection of my employer
5. Moral opposition impacts my willingness to provide abortion information and referrals
6. I do not discuss contraception with my clients due to my own moral values
7. A social worker’s religious values supersede her or his expected professional role
8. It is my professional role to provide referrals or other information for my clients to obtain contraception
9. It is my professional responsibility to provide appropriate referral services to ensure that abortion is available to all clients who are considering this option
10. I do not have enough time to discuss family planning with my clients given my work priorities
11. It frequently occurs to me to discuss family planning with my clients to reduce unintended pregnancy
12. Family planning information is relevant to the well- being of my clients
13. I am interested in providing contraception information to my clients
14. I am interested in learning more about how to effectively discuss family planning with my clients
15. There is an incentive in my workplace to discuss family planning with clients
16. I avoid discussing contraception and abortion with my clients due to liability concerns
17. I believe that I can be effective in reducing unplanned pregnancy with my clients
18. I do not feel competent discussing family planning with my clients
19. The social work profession is not effective in reducing unplanned pregnancy with clients
20. I frequently discuss family planning information with my clients

Response Options:
Strongly disagree - 1
Disagree - 2
Neutral - 3
Agree - 4
Strongly agree - 5

Scoring Procedures

Composite scores were created for each of the factors, based on the mean of the items which loaded on each factor. Higher scores indicated higher obstacles in providing family planning information to clients. Items 1, 2, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, and 20 are reverse scored so that the higher the rating, the more the item represented a barrier.

Original Citation

Bell, M. M. P. L., & Newhill, C. E. P. L. (2017). Psychometrics of an original measure of barriers to providing family planning information: Implications for social service providers. Social Work in Health Care, 56(6), 556-572.

Psychometric Score

Ease of Use Score

Scoring breakdown

Formative Research

Qualitative Research

Existing Literature/Theoretical Framework

Field Expert Input

Cognitive Interviews / Pilot Testing








Criterion (gold-standard)



Ease of Use


Scoring Clarity


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