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The fertility data indicate that there is a need to change to scenario of contraception use in India. The present paper reports the attitude of spouse on the practice of family planning in a rural population from West Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh, India. The information was collected through in-depth interviews with structured questionnaire. A considerable proportion of people reported that their spouse encouraged to adopt family planning. And very few people reported that their spouse opposed and discouraged the use of family planning methods. There was no trend of association with attitude of spouse with age and caste of respondents. But literacy and occupation had influence. In addition, majority of respondents opined that female sterilizing (tubectomy) was a better permanent sterilization. No apparent association was seen between this attitude and characteristics of the respondent. Also, more than two-thirds of men and less than half of women reported that they advised others to adopt family planning. Family panning through contraception tries to achieve the principal objective to have only the desired number of children. Hence, the study warrants improving the attitude of the people, in favour of family planning and special strategies are to be planned to improve the involvement of men.
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© Kamla-Raj 2008
Anthropologist, 10(1): 71-75 (2008)
Attitude of Spouse towards Family Planning: A Study among
Married Men and Women of a Rural Community in West
Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh
G.R. Varma and A. Rohini
Department of Social Work, School of Distance Education, Andhra University,
Visakhapatnam 530 003, Andhra Pradesh, India
Telephone: +891 2754966 (office), 2539078 (home)
E-mail: anamrohini@gmail.com
KEYWORDS Family Planning. Attitude. Rural. Andhra Pradesh
ABSTRACT The fertility data indicate that there is a need to change to scenario of contraception use in India.
The present paper reports the attitude of spouse on the practice of family planning in a rural population from West
Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh, India. The information was collected through in-depth interviews with structured
questionnaire. A considerable proportion of people reported that their spouse encouraged to adopt family planning.
And very few people reported that their spouse opposed and discouraged the use of family planning methods. There
was no trend of association with attitude of spouse with age and caste of respondents. But literacy and occupation
had influence. In addition, majority of respondents opined that female sterilising (tubectomy) was a better
permanent sterilization. No apparent association was seen between this attitude and characteristics of the respondent.
Also, more than two-thirds of men and less than half of women reported that they advised others to adopt family
planning. Family panning through contraception tries to achieve the principal objective to have only the desired
number of children. Hence, the study warrants improving the attitude of the people, in favour of family planning
and special strategies are to be planned to improve the involvement of men.
INTRODUCTION
individual acceptors (Ministry of Health and
Family Welfare, 1998). India launched the National
Currently, India is the second most populous
Family Welfare Programme in 1951 with the
country in the world, contributing about 20% of
objective of reducing the birth rate to the extent
births worldwide (World Health Organization,
necessary to stabilize the population, consistent
2006). Also, it continued to have one of the most
with the requirements of the national economy.
rapidly growing populations in the world.
Since its inception, the programme has
However, third National Family Health Survey
experienced significant growth in terms of
(NFHS-3) reported that fertility continues to
financial investment, service delivery points,
decline in India. The current total fertility rate
type of services, and the range of contraceptive
(TFR) of 2.7 is down slightly from 2.9 children
methods offered. Since October 1997, the
per woman at the time of second National Family
services and interventions under the Family
Health Survey (NFHS-2), but is still well above
Welfare Programme and the Child Survival and
the replacement level of just over two children
Safe Motherhood Programme have been
per woman (International Institute for Population
integrated with the Reproductive and Child
Sciences and ORC Macro, 2000, 2007). The
Health Programme. In the National Population
National Family Welfare Programme in India has
Policy, 2000, the Government of India set as its
traditional sought to promote responsible and
immediate objective the task of addressing unmet
planned parenthood through voluntary and free
need for contraception to achieve the medium-
choice of contraceptive methods best suited to
range objective of bringing the total fertility rate
down to replacement level by 2010. One of the
Address for correspondence:
socio-demographic goals identified for this
Dr. A. Rohini
purpose is to achieve universal access to
Associate Professor of Social Work
information/counseling and services for fertility
School of Distance Education, Andhra University,
Visakhapatnam 530 003, Andhra Pradesh, India
regulation and contraception with a wide range
Telephone: +891 2754966 (office), 2539078 (home)
of choices (Ministry of Health and Family
Email: anamrohini@gmail.com
Welfare, 2000). In India as a whole, current

72
G.R. VARMA AND A. ROHINI
contraceptive rate of currently married women is
information pertaining to demographic and socio-
56%. Female sterilization, with prevalence of 37%,
economic characteristics of households, and
accounted for 71% of all contraceptive use in
attitude of spouse regarding family planning
India (International Institute for Population
acceptance, was collected through in-depth
Sciences and ORC Macro, 2007). Still there is
interviews with structured questionnaire. The
need to change to scenario of contraception use
data were entered into a personal computer and
in India. In this context, the present paper reports
analysis was done through SPSS v.10 (SPSS inc.
the attitude of spouse on practice of family
Chicago, IL, USA). The respondents were
planning in a rural population of two mandals of
categorised based on their age, caste, occupation,
West Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh, India.
education, income and age at marriage. Based
on the caste, the respondents were categorized
METHODOLOGY
in to two categories, i.e. scheduled caste (SC)
and non SC.
The information for the present study was
obtained from 214 households, selected from
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
three villages in Palakol and Palakoderu mandals
(development blocks) of West Godavari district,
The data on attitude of spouse about family
Andhra Pradesh. The study area possessed all
planning by the characteristics of respondents
types of caste communities belonged to Hindu
are summarized and results are shown in Table 1.
and Christian religions. The economy of the area
A considerable proportion of men (57.5%) and
was agricultural based through some people
women (42.5%) reported that their spouse
depended on service and business. The
encouraged to adopt family planning. And very
Table 1: Distribution of respondents based on their spouse’s attitude regarding family planning by
socio-demographic characteristics

Men
Women

Encourage
Neutral
Oppose
Encourage
Neutral
Oppose
Age Group
≤ 30 (M=18, F=10)
6.3
2.9
1.1
15.0
7.5
2.5
31-40 (M=62, F=9)
22.4
12.0
1.1
15.0
7.5
-
41-50 (M=60, F=13)
20.1
14.4
-
5.0
25.0
2.5
≥ 51 (M=34, F=8)
8.6
9.8
1.1
7.5
12.5
-
Caste
SC (M=154, F=39)
51.1
34.5
2.9
42.5
50.0
5.0
Non SC (M=20, F=1)
6.3
4.6
0.6
-
2.5
-
Occupation
Agriculture labour (M=112, F=32)
35.6
25.9
2.9
32.5
45.0
2.5
Small farmer (M=31, F=0)
12.0
5.2
0.6
-
-
-
Employee (M=24, F=2)
7.5
6.3
-
2.5
2.5
-
House wife (M=0, F=6)
-
-
-
7.5
5.0
2.5
Others (M=7, F=0)
2.3
1.7
-
-
-
-
Education
Illiterate (M=52, F=16)
16.7
12.6
0.6
10.0
12.5
2.5
Primary education (M=50, F=11)
15.5
11.5
1.7
15.0
27.5
-
Secondary education. & more (M=72, F=13)
25.3
14.9
1.1
17.5
12.5
2.5
Annual Income
≤ 8,000 (M=84, F=24)
23.6
21.8
2.9
27.5
30.0
2.5
8,001-10,000 (M=32, F=6)
12.1
5.7
0.6
2.5
10.0
2.5
10,001-20,000(M=39, F=5)
14.9
7.5
-
5.0
7.5
-
≥ 20,001 (M=19, F=5)
6.9
4.0
7.5
5.0
-
-
Age at Marriage
≤ 20 (M=92, F=37)
27.6
23.6
1.7
37.5
50.0
5.0
21-25 (M=72, F=3)
25.9
14.4
1.1
5.0
2.5
-
≥ 26 (M=10, F=0)
4.0
1.1
0.6
-
-
-
Total
57.5
39.1
3.4
42.5
52.5
5.0
All figures are percentages to corresponding sample.
M=male, F=female

A STUDY AMONG MARRIED MEN AND WOMEN OF A RURAL COMMUNITY
73
few people (3.4% of men and 5% of women)
approved in larger was among women who live
reported that their spouse opposed and
in urban areas than in rural areas; larger among
discouraged the use of family planning methods.
more educated women than among the less
However, a considerable proportion of men
educated; and it is larger among SC (International
(39.1%) and women (52.5%) reported the neutral
Institute for Population Sciences, 1995).
attitude of their spouses. The multiple
Table 2 reports the attitude of male and female
classification analysis based on various
respondents on attitude on method of permanent
independent variables indicated that there was
sterilization. The respondents were asked to
no trend of association with attitude of spouse
respond which one is a better permanent
with age structure and caste. The respondents from
sterilization, male sterilization (vasectomy) or
agricultural labourers possessed relatively lesser
female sterilization (tubectomy). Majority male
proportion of spouse with encouraging attitude
and female respondents (85%) opined that female
towards family planning than other categories of
sterilization (tubectomy) is a better permanent
occupation. Similarly, illiterates also exhibited a
sterilization. And the remaining 15% respondents
similar trend compared to literates. First National
felt that permanent sterilization of husband
Family Health Survey comprised information on
(vasectomy) is the best. No apparent association
approval and disapproval of family planning
was seen between this attitude and age of the
among couples, distinguishing attitudes of wives
respondent. Higher number of SC respondents
and husbands. In India, both the wife and the
and respondents from agricultural labourers
husband disapprove the family planning for 58%
have their opinion that wife sterilization is the
of couples. The proportion who approved of
better way. But no variations were recorded with
family planning and whose husbands also
respect to income. Age at marriage and age at
Table 2: Distribution of respondents based on the attitude regarding better permanent sterilization by
socio-demographic characteristics

M e n
Wo m e n

Female
Male
Female
Male
sterilization
sterilization
sterilization
sterilization
Age Group
≤ 30 (M=18, F=10)
9.8
0.6
22.5
2.5
31-40 (M=62, F=9)
29.9
5.7
17.5
5.0
41-50 (M=60, F=13)
29.9
4.6
27.5
5.0
≥ 51 (M=34, F=8)
15.5
4.0
17.5
2.5
Caste
SC (M=154, F=39)
77.0
11.5
82.5
15.0
Non SC (M=20, F=1)
8.0
3.4
2.5
-
Occupation
Agriculture labour (M=112, F=32)
58.6
5.7
67.5
12.5
Small farmer (M=31, F=0)
14.4
3.4
-
-
Employee (M=24, F=2)
9.8
4.0
5.0
-
House wife (M=0, F=6)
-
-
12.5
2.5
Others (M=7, F=0)
2.3
1.7
-
-
Education
Illiterate (M=52, F=16)
28.2
1.7
35.0
5.0
Primary education (M=50, F=11)
23.0
5.7
25.0
2.5
Secondary education. & more (M=72, F=13)
33.9
7.5
25.0
7.5
Annual Income
≤ 8,000 (M=84, F=24)
43.7
4.6
52.5
7.5
8,001-10,000 (M=32, F=6)
15.5
2.9
12.5
2.5
10,001-20,000(M=39, F=5)
19.0
3.4
10.0
2.5
≥ 20,001 (M=19, F=5)
6.9
4.0
10.0
2.5
Age at Marriage
≤ 20 (M=92, F=37)
47.7
5.2
80.0
12.5
21-25 (M=72, F=3)
33.3
8.0
5.0
2.5
≥ 26 (M=10, F=0)
4.0
1.7
-
-
To t a l
85.1
14.9
85.0
15.0
All figures are percentages to corresponding sample.
M=male, F=female

74
G.R. VARMA AND A. ROHINI
first child have also impact on this attitude. The
there was an association between education and
respondents with lower values of these variables
this attitude. Among illiterate respondents only
have the attitude that tubectomy is better for
52% were in favour of family planning where as
permanent sterilization.
among literates this number was more than 75%.
Table 3 presents distribution of respondents
Among respondents with income of less than
based on the attitude of giving advice to others
Rs.6000 possessed 70% of respondents who were
in favour of family planning by socio-demographic
in favour of family planning, while 87.7% of
characteristics. Out of all respondents, 68.4% and
respondents with income above Rs.6000 were
45% women reported that they advised others
favouring family planning. Relatively higher
to adopt family planning. These results are not
proportion of respondents exhibited positive
welcoming since one-third of the men and more
attitude towards family planning and advised
than half of women were not in favour of family
others to adopt family planning.
planning, and do not advice others. There was a
Family panning through contraception tries
considerable degree of variation in this aspect.
to achieve the principal objective to have only
The data revealed that the proportion of
the desired number of children. It is known that
respondents who were in favour of family planning
particularly men’s attitudes about contraception
was more among lower age group people. This
may influence their partner’s attitudes and
proportion was higher among non-SC respondents
eventual adoption of a contraceptive method
than SC respondents. Regarding occupational
(International Institute for Population Sciences
division of respondents, more number of
and ORC Macro, 2007). In the present study, only
agricultural labourers were not giving advice to
about half of the men have positive attitude and
others in favour of family planning. Similarly,
they seemed to encourage their wives to adopt
Table 3: Distribution of respondents based on their attitude to give advice to others in favour of family
planning by socio-demographic characteristics

M e n
Wo m e n

Yes
No
Yes
No
Age Group
≤ 30 (M=18, F=10)
8.0
4.0
15.0
17.5
31-40 (M=62, F=9)
26.4
9.2
10.0
12.5
41-50 (M=60, F=13)
25.9
8.6
15.0
17.5
≥ 51 (M=34, F=8)
8.6
10.9
7.5
12.5
Caste
SC (M=154, F=39)
59.8
28.7
45.0
52.5
Non SC (M=20, F=1)
8.6
2.9
-
2.5
Occupation
Agriculture labour (M=112, F=32)
41.4
23.0
37.5
42.5
Small farmer (M=31, F=0)
13.8
4.0
-
-
Employee (M=24, F=2)
10.3
3.4
-
5.0
House wife (M=0, F=6)
-
-
7.5
7.5
Others (M=7, F=0)
2.9
1.1
-
-
Education
Illiterate (M=52, F=16)
15.5
14.4
17.5
22.5
Primary education (M=50, F=11)
20.7
8.0
12.5
15.0
Secondary education. & more (M=72, F=13) 32.2
8.2
15.0
17.5
Annual Income
≤ 8,000 (M=84, F=24)
30.5
17.8
32.5
27.5
8,001-10,000 (M=32, F=6)
19.5
12.6
15.0
12.5
10,001-20,000(M=39, F=5)
14.9
7.5
2.5
10.0
≥ 20,001 (M=19, F=5)
8.6
2.3
7.5
5.0
Age at Marriage
≤ 20 (M=92, F=37)
35.6
17.8
37.5
55.0
21-25 (M=72, F=3)
28.7
12.6
7.5
-
≥ 26 (M=10, F=0)
4.6
1.1
-
-
Total
68.4
31.6
45.0
55.0
All figures are percentages to corresponding sample.
M=male, F=female

A STUDY AMONG MARRIED MEN AND WOMEN OF A RURAL COMMUNITY
75
the family planning. Also several, socio-
International Institute for Population Sciences and ORC
demographic characters were also influenced the
Macro: National Family Health Survey (NFHS-2),
attitude of the people. In terms of attitude as well in
1998-99. International Institute for Population
practice, tubectomy was the popular method of
Sciences, Bombay (2000).
International Institute for Population Sciences and
permanent sterilization and remained as a dominant
Macro International: National Family Health Survey
method of all family planning methods. The study
(NFHS-3), 2005–06: India: Volume I. International
warrants to improve the attitude of the people, in
Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai (2007).
favour of family planning and special strategies are
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. 1998. Family
to be planned to improve the involvement of men.
Welfare Programme in India, Year Book, 1996-
Research on the attitude and practice of men
1997. Department of Family Welfare, Ministry of
regarding fertility regulation and the factors
Health and Family Welfare, New Delhi (1998).
inhibiting their role and participation in
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare: National
Population Policy, 2000. New Delhi: Department
reproductive health could help improve and
of Family Welfare, Ministry of Health and Family
modify the situation (Santhya, 2003).
Welfare.
Santhya. K.G.: Changing Family Planning Scenario in
REFERENCES
India: an Overview of Recent Evidence. Regional
Working Papers No. 17.
Population Council, New
International Institute for Population Sciences: National
Delhi (2003).
Family Health Survey (MCH and Family Planning),
World Health Organization: India and Family Welfare
India 1992-93. International Institute for Population
Planning, an Overview. South-East Asia Regional
Sciences, Bombay (1995).
Office, World Health Organization, New Delhi (2006).

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