Social network and community level influences on contraceptive use: evidence from rural Poland

Colleran, Heidi and Mace, Ruth (2015) Social network and community level influences on contraceptive use: evidence from rural Poland. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 282 (1807).

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The diffusion of ‘modern’ contraceptives—as a proxy for the spread of lowfertility
norms—has long interested researchers wishing to understand
global fertility decline. A fundamental question is how local cultural norms
and other people’s behaviour influence the probability of contraceptive
use, independent of women’s socioeconomic and life-history characteristics.
However, few studies have combined data at individual, social network and
community levels to simultaneously capture multiple levels of influence.
Fewer still have tested if the same predictors matter for different contraceptive
types. Here, we use new data from 22 high-fertility communities in Poland to
compare predictors of the use of (i) any contraceptives—a proxy for the
decision to control fertility—with those of (ii) ‘artificial’ contraceptives—a
subset of more culturally taboo methods. We find that the contraceptive behaviour
of friends and family is more influential than are women’s own
characteristics and that community level characteristics additionally influence
contraceptive use. Highly educated neighbours accelerate women’s contraceptive
use overall, but not their artificial method use. Highly religious
neighbours slow women’s artificial method use, but not their contraceptive
use overall. Our results highlight different dimensions of sociocultural
influence on contraceptive diffusion and suggest that these may be more influential
than are individual characteristics. A comparative multilevel framework
is needed to understand these dynamics.

Item Type: Article
Language: English
Date: May 2015
Refereed: Yes
Divisions: TSE-R (Toulouse)
Site: UT1
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2017 09:09
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2019 00:11

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