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SPOUSAL AGREEMENT ON PREFERRED WAITING TIME TO NEXT BIRTH IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA
Authors: Gebreselassie T, Mishra V.
Source: Journal of Biosocial Science, 2011 Mar 30:1-16. [Epub ahead of print]
Topic(s): Family planning
Country: Africa
   Multiple African Countries
Published: MAR 2011
Abstract: Summary: This study investigates how various social, demographic and economic factors affect spousal agreement on preferred waiting time to next birth. Data for matched cohabiting couples from ten Demographic and Health Surveys in sub-Saharan Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe), conducted between 2003 and 2006, were analysed to compare reported waiting time to next birth by the husband and the wife. Couples where the reported waiting time to next birth was the same for both partners (difference is 0 months) were defined as having agreement on waiting time to next birth. In sub-Saharan Africa, spousal agreement on waiting time to next birth was found to be associated with wanting the next child sooner. When the spouses disagree on waiting time to next birth, the wives want to wait longer than their husbands in most cases. Additionally, the study found that demographic factors are the primary determinants of spousal agreement on waiting time to next birth, not socioeconomic factors. The strongest predictors of spousal agreement on waiting time to next birth were number of living children, difference between the number of ideal and living children and wife's age. Couples with fewer children, a younger wife and those with a difference of five or more children between ideal and living number of children were more likely to agree on waiting time to next birth. Effects of socioeconomic factors, such as education and wealth status, on spousal agreement on waiting time to next birth were generally weak and inconsistent. The findings highlight some of the challenges in developing programmes to promote spousal communication and birth spacing and underscore the need for programmes to be gender-sensitive.