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Soc Sci Med. 2014 Aug;114:169-77. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.05.047. Epub 2014 May 28.

The influence of women's empowerment on maternal health care utilization: evidence from Albania.

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  • 1Sapienza University, Rome, Italy. Electronic address:
  • 2Tirana University, Faculty of Economy, Tirana, Albania.
  • 3Tulane University, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA, USA.


Women in Albania receive antenatal care and postnatal care at lower levels than in other countries in Europe. Moreover, there are large socio-economic and regional disparities in maternal health care use. Previous research in low- and middle-income countries has found that women's status within the household can be a powerful force for improving the health, longevity, and mental and physical capacity of mothers and the well-being of children, but there is very little research on this issue in the Balkans. The aim of this paper is to investigate the influence of women's empowerment within the household on antenatal and postnatal care utilization in Albania. The research questions are explored through the use of bivariate and multivariate analyses based on nationally representative data from the 2008-09 Albania Demographic and Health Survey. The linkages between women's empowerment and maternal health care utilization are analyzed using two types of indicators of women's empowerment: decision making power and attitudes toward domestic violence. The outcome variables are indicators of the utilization of antenatal care and postnatal care. The findings suggest that use of maternal health care services is influenced by women's roles in decision-making and the attitudes of women towards domestic violence, after controlling for a number of socio-economic and demographic factors which are organized at individual, household, and community level. The study results suggest that policy actions that increase women's empowerment at home could be effective in helping assure good maternal health.

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Albania; Antenatal care; Postnatal care; Women's attitudes toward domestic violence; Women's empowerment

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