Journal of Biosocial Science

Research Article

THE EFFECT OF HUSBANDS’ FERTILITY PREFERENCES ON COUPLES’ REPRODUCTIVE BEHAVIOUR IN RURAL BANGLADESH

MIAN B. HOSSAINa1, JAMES F. PHILLIPSa2 and A. B. M. KHORSHED A. MOZUMDERa3

a1 School of Public Health and Policy, Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD, USA

a2 Research Division, the Population Council, New York, USA

a3 International Center for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh

Summary

Bangladesh society is profoundly gender stratified, and yet male roles in reproductive health processes have not been rigorously investigated. This study examines the association between men’s reproductive health knowledge, attitude and behaviour and their wives’ subsequent reproductive behaviour using longitudinal data from the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B). A total of 4969 matched husband-and-wife data from a 1998 survey and women’s contraceptive use history data following this survey are used. Results show a significant association between husbands’ fertility preferences and current use of any family planning method. When wives’ background characteristics, and husbands’ background and socioeconomic characteristics are controlled for, the predicted probability of using a method of contraception among non-educated wives whose husbands want more children is 0·49 compared with 0·64 for those whose husbands do not want more children. However, the net effect of husbands’ preference for additional children diminishes as wives’ level of education increases. Among wives who had completed high school, the predicted probability of using a method of contraception is 0·70 for those whose husbands want more children compared with 0·69 for those whose husbands do not want more children.