Marital Processes, Husband-Wife Relationships, and Fertility Behaviors

Project Details

Investigators: Dirgha J. Ghimire, PI, William G. Axinn, Co-I.

Description: This project studies the influence of marital processes on childbearing practices in a society just beginning a dramatic fertility transition. This study focuses on the most significant aspects of fertility decline: rates of contraceptive use both for postponement and termination of childbearing. The setting, rural Nepal, is in the midst of transitions in both marital processes and childbearing practices. Both theory and preliminary evidence point toward the importance of changes in multiple dimensions of marital processes as key links between individuals’ community context, non-family experiences, and childbearing behaviors. However, the specific mechanisms responsible for creating these links remain unknown. We build on an ongoing program of research that has already made numerous contributions to our understanding of the influence of various community and individual level factors on both marital and childbearing behaviors. We investigate multiple martial processes as mechanisms linking community and individual level factors to fertility, specifically contraceptive use. To accomplish this we integrate existing, culturally appropriate measures of multiple dimensions of marital processes into models of contraceptive use to conduct direct tests of these mechanisms. The data we use contain a particularly rich body of contextual measures, detailed personal interviews with both husbands and wives, and records of contraceptive use spanning more than 50 years.

Coverage: Nepal.

Sponsor: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. R03 HD055976. $154,500. 2009-2011.