Intimate partner violence and contraceptive use in India: The moderating influence of conflicting fertility preferences and contraceptive intentions

Walter Forrest, Dharmalingam Arunachalam, Kannan Navaneetham

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Several studies report that women exposed to intimate partner
violence (IPV) are less likely to use contraception, but the evidence that
violence consistently constrains contraceptive use is inconclusive. One plausible
explanation for this ambiguity is that the effects of violence on contraceptive
use depend on whether couples are likely to have conflicting attitudes to it.
In particular, although some men may engage in violence to prevent their
partners from using contraception, they are only likely to do so if they have
reason to oppose its use. Using a longitudinal follow-up to the Indian National
Family Health Survey (NFHS-2), conducted among a sample of rural, married
women of childbearing age, this study investigated whether the relationship
between IPV and contraceptive use is contingent on whether women’
scontraceptive intentions contradict men’s fertility preferences. Results indicate that women experiencing IPV are less likely to undergo sterilization, but only if
they intended to use contraception and their partners wanted more children
(Average Marginal Effect (AME)=−0.06; CI=−0.10,−0.01). Violence had
no effect on sterilization among women who did not plan to use contraception
(AME=−0.02; CI=−0.06, 0.03) or whose spouses did not want morechildren (AME=−0.01; CI=−0.9, 0.06). These results imply that violence
enables some men to resolve disagreements over the use of contraception by
imposing their fertility preferences on their partners. They also indicate
that unmet need for contraception could be an intended consequence of
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212–226
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Biosocial Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Intimate partner violence
  • Contraceptive use
  • Fertility decisions
  • India
  • Longitudinal

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