Husband-wife Roles as a Correlate of Contraceptive and Fertility Behaviour

Publication Year : 1996

In this paper, an investigation of reproductive behaviour within the socioeconomic and cultural frameworks is carried out to find the extent to which socioeconomic, cultural, and attitudinal variables (such as husband and wife’s education, family income, husband’s occupation, child mortality, exposure to the mass media, and husbandand- wife relationship in terms of egalitarian roles, role-segregation, husband’s authority, and domination in family and non-family decisions) influence the fertility decision-making process. The quantitative and qualitative techniques are used for exploring the respondents’ views regarding contraceptive and fertility behaviour. Principle Component Analysis (PCA) is applied to identify new meaningful underlying variables and to reduce the multi-dimensionality of variables. The chi-square test is employed to explore the relationships between the predictor variables and the dependent variables. Multiple linear regression is also used to establish the relative importance of each of the predictor variables. Bivariate, multiple linear regression and qualitative analysis demonstrate that preferences for smaller families and contraceptive use were found to be consistently associated with modern attitudes and behaviour towards the husband-and-wife relationship. Family income, husband’s occupation, child mortality, and age at marriage offered no explanation of the reproductive behaviour. It is concluded that cultural setting and tradition exert an important influence on reproductive behaviour independent of development in economic realities. It is suggested that for the attainment of demographicdevelopmental objectives, the issue of women’s status is not incidental; it is essential. The argument is not that improvements in women’s status need to be pursued only for population policy purposes, but rather that they comprise a crucial social developmental goal in their own right.