The roles of social interaction and male involvement in fertility decline in sub -Saharan Africa: Three essays

Steven R Green, University of Pennsylvania


This dissertation includes three essays emphasizing male roles in fertility decline in sub-Saharan Africa.^ The first essay assesses the degree to which a comparison of empirical evidence on African men's and women's fertility preferences, approval of family planning, and contraceptive adoption justifies a family planning program emphasis on men. This research finds that differences between men and women on these variables is modest. Separate analyses using age-standardization of the men's and women's samples and comparisons of monogamous and polygynous men does little to change these results. The family planning program emphasis on men appears to be justified when their fertility preferences, attitudes, and practices are compared with women.^ The second essay provides detailed descriptions of two Luo communication networks related to fertility change. The first network centers on people with whom the respondent discusses the issue of parental support. The second network focuses on the people with whom the respondent discusses family planning. Both semi-structured interview data and survey data confirm that there is considerable differentiation in the composition of the two networks for Luo men. The evidence suggests the parental support network serves a normative function, while the family planning network plays an instrumental role. Both normative and instrumental changes are necessary components of social change; each of these elements, therefore, is essential for fertility decline. Men's discussions of both the normative and instrumental factors associated with fertility change augers well for the pace of future contraceptive use and fertility decline among the Luo.^ The third essay examines the influence of community attributes of social interaction as predictors of wanting no more children and ever use of contraception. The relative openness of a community and the existence of a community-based distribution program, two contextual measures of social interaction, are found to be significant predictors of the dependent variables, even in models combining community- and individual-level measures of social interaction. ^

Subject Area

History, African|Sociology, Demography

Recommended Citation

Green, Steven R, "The roles of social interaction and male involvement in fertility decline in sub -Saharan Africa: Three essays" (1997). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9814851.