This study examines the influence of a selected set of determinants of contraceptive method switching in rural Sri Lanka. Of interest is the question of how change in contraceptive practice at the individual level can account for patterns observed at the aggregate level. Based on calendar data on contraceptive use over a 3-year period, collected for more than 3,000 married women in a 1986 survey, the multivariate analysis shows that women who attain all or a significant proportion of their desired fertility tend to switch to more effective methods. Women who experience method failure tend to switch methods, usually to a type that is more effective. The woman's background determinants of age and education have small but significant effects on method switching, whereas the effect of household economic well-being is not significant. There is strong indication that rural couples are practicing contraception in a nonrandom fashion, switching methods in accordance with changes in their fertility motivations and contraceptive experience.
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