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Health Care Women Int. 1997 Jan-Feb;18(1):85-94.

Contraceptive decision making in a sample of Jordanian Muslim women: delineating salient beliefs.

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Sinclair School of Nursing, University of Missouri-Columbia 65203, USA.


In this article, the authors identify attitudes, normative beliefs, and behavioral control beliefs of Muslim Jordanian women with regard to avoiding unplanned pregnancy and using specific contraceptive methods. Based on Ajzen and Fishbein's theory of planned behavior, open-ended questions were used in audio-taped face-to-face interviews with 25 married 19-44-year-old Jordanian Muslim women. A majority of respondents interviewed were currently using an intrauterine device (IUD) for contraception. Few women were using oral contraceptives, condoms, or the rhythm method and none of them reported using foam or a diaphragm. Content analyses of narrative transcriptions suggest the individual's concerns for family and individual well-being, as well as husbands' and families' opinions, may influence women's contraceptive behavior in this population.


Interviews with a convenience sample of 25 married Muslim women 19-44 years of age from Jordan who were current contraceptive users identified factors that influence family planning behaviors in this population. 16 women (64%) had an IUD, 4 (16%) used oral contraceptives, 4 (16%) relied on the rhythm method, and 1 (4%) used condoms. The theoretical framework of Ajzen and Fishbein, incorporating beliefs about performing the behavior, social referents, and factors that serve as facilitators or barriers to the behavior, was used to structure the interviews. The most frequently cited advantages of pregnancy avoidance were more time to care for family, financial considerations, taking care of one's body, and birth spacing. The few women who perceived disadvantages to contraceptive use cited side effects as a concern. Husband's support was reported to facilitate pregnancy prevention, while extended family disapproval was a common barrier. When questioned specifically about IUD use, over half the respondents identified a reduction in side effects compared to the pill as an advantage. Disadvantages included longer periods and painful insertion. IUD acceptance was facilitated by thorough counseling by health care staff and impeded by both fear and disapproval of friends, relatives, and neighbors. Overall, contraceptive behavior was governed by the significance of family life and the influence of family members. Since husband's support is so important to contraceptive decision making, spouses should be involved in counseling sessions.

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