244219 Influence of Spousal Communication and Women's Gender Attitudes on Contraceptive Use

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 3:10 PM

Geeta Nanda, DrPH , Academy for Educational Development, Washington, DC
Sidney Ruth Schuler, PhD , C-Change, Academy for Educational Development, Washington, DC
Jane Alaii, PhD , C-Change, Academy for Educational Development, Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya
Elisabeth Ann Rottach, MA , Global Health Population & Nutrition, Academy for Educational Development, Washington, DC
Despite the common belief that inequitable gender norms can function as barriers to contraceptive use by constraining spousal communication and family planning (FP) decision-making, there is little published evidence linking FP with gender attitudes. This study examines the influence of spousal communication and gender attitudes on contraceptive use, using survey data from an operations research project in Tanzania. A baseline household survey was conducted in 2009 with 200 couples of reproductive age to explore gender attitudes as measured by the Gender Equitable Men (GEM) Scale, and their relationship to FP. Logistic regression analyses were carried out separately for husbands and wives. The dependent variable was current use of contraception. Independent variables were spousal communication and GEM Scale score, controlling for age, education, number of living children, and geographic region. Spousal communication (reported by the wife) was a significant predictor of contraceptive use, after adjusting for covariates. In a second model, the wife's GEM score was a significant predictor of contraceptive use, and spousal communication remained significant. In comparable models, using data from husbands, neither spousal communication nor husband's GEM score were significant in predicting women's contraceptive use. The effect of women's gender attitudes was largely independent of couple communication, suggesting that gender attitudes may influence women's propensity to take initiative in FP. While influencing men to be more gender egalitarian may be worthwhile for many reasons, it is women's gender attitudes that influence contraceptive use in this setting.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Examine relationships between gender attitudes, spousal communication, and contraceptive use

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I hold a DrPH and have conducted prior research on this topic. I performed the data analysis to be presented.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.