Power relations and negotiations in contraceptive decision-making when husbands oppose family planning: analysis of ethnographic vignette couple data in Southwest Nigeria

Abiodun Idowu Adanikin, Nuala McGrath, Sabu S. Padmadas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Contraceptive use in Nigeria has remained low at less than 15% for over two decades. Although husbands’ opposition is acknowledged as one of the factors impeding women’s contraceptive use, little is known about how wives negotiate when their husbands oppose family planning. We addressed this research gap by conducting thematic analyses of qualitative data from 30 interviews of married couples. We employed thematic analysis to identify relevant themes from the transcribed data. The findings clearly demonstrate attitudes highlighting an imbalance in power relations and contraceptive decision-making within marital relationships. By initially complying with the husband’s wish as a ‘sign of honour’, and then making further attempts at convincing him about family planning use, a woman can achieve her contraceptive target, or through the involvement of a third party. Wives are less empowered to overtly use contraceptives when their husbands oppose family planning. However, there are accepted justifications for covert use. The findings underscore the need to strengthen family planning interventions to enable behavioural change among Nigerian men, promote gender and reproductive health rights, and empower women with better negotiation skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1439-1451
Number of pages13
JournalCulture, Health and Sexuality
Volume21
Issue number12
Early online date14 Feb 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, UK. The authors thank Sarah Neal (University of Southampton) for her advice on the design of the vignette. We are also grateful to Christopher Oluwadare (Ekiti State University) for his contribution to the qualitative interviewing. Lastly, we thank Andrew Hinde (University of Southampton) and John Cleland (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) for their invaluable comments and suggestions.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • contraception
  • couples
  • decision-making
  • family planning
  • Nigeria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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