Disagreement in spousal reports of current contraceptive use in sub-Saharan Africa

Stan Becker, Mian B. Hossain, Elizabeth Thomson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Contraceptive prevalence is a key variable estimated from Demographic and Health Surveys. But the prevalence estimated from reports of husbands differs widely from that estimated for wives. In this research, using data from six Demographic and Health Surveys of sub-Saharan Africa, reports from spouses in monogamous couples with no other reported sex partners in the recent period are examined. Agreement ranged from 47% to 82%, but among couples in which one or both reported use, the 'both' category represented less than half in all nations except Zimbabwe. Husbands generally had higher reports of condoms, periodic abstinence and pills but fewer reports of the IUD, injections and female sterilization. Either discussion of family planning with the spouse and/or higher socioeconomic status was associated with agreement in most of the surveys. Ambiguities in the survey question regarding current use need to be reduced, perhaps with an added probe question for non-permanent methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)779-796
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Biosocial Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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