Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
International Family Planning Perspectives
Volume 23, Number 1, March 1997

Husband-Wife Communication About Family Planning and Contraceptive Use in Kenya

By Ashraf Lasee and Stan Becker

According to couple data from the 1989 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey, both knowledge and approval of family planning are virtually universal in Kenya: Among 98% of couples, one or both partners know of at least one modern method, and among 85% of couples both partners approve of family planning. Discussion with the partner about family planning was reported in 82% of couples. However, only 67% of wives and 75% of husbands correctly predicted their spouse's approval of family planning. Knowledge and approval of family planning, husband-wife communication, desire for more children and ideal family size are all significantly associated with current use. Multiple logistic regression analyses show that husband-wife communication, particularly the wife's perception of her husband's approval of family planning, is highly associated with current contraceptive use (odds ratio of 4.2). Dialogue appears to increase the effectiveness of communication: Specifically, one spouse's perception of the other spouse's approval is more likely to be correct if they have discussed family planning than if they have not, and this relationship significantly affects contraceptive use.

(International Family Planning Perspectives,23:15-20 & 33, 1997)

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