This study was designed to investigate the extent and socio-demographic determinants of males’ involvement in family planning practices in Ohafia Local Government Area, Abia State. Seven research questions and five null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. The design of the study was descriptive survey. The sample consisted of 864 currently married males from four wards in Ohafia Local Government Area. The instruments used for the study were Questionnaire on Extent and Socio-demographic Determinants of Males’ Involvement in FPPs and Focus Group Discussion (FGD) Guide which were validated by experts and used for data collection. The data collected were analyzed using mean, standard deviation, Pearson product moment correlation co- efficient, Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and t-test statistic. Content analysis was employed to analyse the focus group discussions (FGDs). The major findings of the study were: males’ involvement in the use of abstinence and withdrawal was to a small extent (1.61 & 1.53) while their use of condom and vasectomy was to no extent (1.07 & 1.46); males were involved in supporting their wife’s use of natural planning method to a small extent (1.78) while their support for wife’s use of artificial family planning methods was to no extent (1.14, 1.07, 1.25, 1.26 & 1.24); level of education was a determinant of the extent of males’ involvement in family planning practices; occupation was a determinant of extent of male’s involvement in family planning practices; religious affiliation was not a determinant of the extent of males’ involvement in family planning practices; age was not a determinant of the extent of males’ involvement in family planning practices; geographical location was a determinant of the extent of male’s involvement in family planning practices. Based on the findings of the study the following recommendations were made: sensitization campaigns should be conducted by health agencies on the importance of males’ involvement in family planning practices; policy makers should formulate policies that will subsidize the cost of family planning services and ensure its availability to men in low-income occupations.


Title Page
Table of Contents
List of Tables
List of Figures

CHAPTER ONE: Introduction
Background to the Study
Statement of the Problem
Purpose of the Study
Research Questions
Significance of the Study
Scope of the Study

CHAPTER TWO: Review of Related Literature
Conceptual Framework
Concept of family planning practices (FPPs)
Males’ involvement in FPPs
Obstacles to males’ involvement in FPPs
Determinants of males’ involvement in FPPs
Theoretical Framework
Theory of reasoned action (TRA)
Theory of planned behaviour (TPB)
The health belief model (HBM)
Empirical Studies on Males’ Involvement in FPPs
Summary of Literature Review

Research Design
Area of the Study
Population for the Study
Sample and Sampling Techniques
Instrument for Data Collection
Validity of the instrument
Reliability of the instrument
Method of Data Collection
Method of Data Analysis

CHAPTER FOUR: Results and Discussion

CHAPTER FIVE: Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations
Summary of the Study
Implications of the Study
Limitations of the Study
Suggestions for Further Research


Background to the Study

Recognition is growing on a global scale that the involvement of men in family planning practices (FPPs) offers both men and women important benefits. Such benefits include a decreased maternal mortality rate and an increased contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR). According to Cleland, Bernstein, Ezeh, Faundes, Glasier and Innis (2006), an estimated ninety per cent (90%) of abortion-related and twenty per cent (20%) of pregnancy-related morbidity and mortality, along with thirty-two (32%) per cent of maternal deaths could be prevented by use of effective contraception. Hubacher, Mavranezouli and McGinn (2008) also noted that in Sub-Saharan Africa, an estimated fourteen million unintended pregnancies occur every year. These unintended pregnancies and subsequent abortions could have been avoided if the male partners had applied family planning (FP) methods.

In the past, men were considered to be beyond the scope of FP programmes; the reasons, according to Dahal, Padmadas and Hinde (2008), included the notions that reproduction was primarily a woman’s issue and that men usually did not take responsibility for reproductive health and FP. However, it has been widely acknowledged that men in developing countries, such as Nigeria, make most of the decisions regarding family formation (Bankole & Singh, 1998); and according to Morgan and Niraula (1995), despite women’s increasing influence on household decision making, their preferences regarding contraceptive choices and family size may not translate into practice unless they conform to their husbands’ wishes. Thus, without the husband’s approval and support, the wife may not be able to practise FP.

Studies in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Nigeria, revealed a high level of knowledge of FP methods and a strong positive attitude towards FP by men but the actual use of these FP methods remains uncommon (Mustapha & Mumford, 1984; Gallen & Kak, 1986; Obionu, 1998). This apparent refusal or reluctance by men to use male FP methods presents a source of concern, especially regarding the need for couples to share the responsibilities of reproduction. According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute- AGI (2003), studies conducted in Africa and Latin America had revealed that more than a quarter of men who wanted to limit or postpone their wives’ childbearing did not use any method to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Hence, the burden of contraception was borne by the women only. This confirmed the assertion by Lasee and Becker (1997) that in most developing countries, like Nigeria, women carry the burden of responsibility for contraceptive use often with little or no support and sometimes, with great resistance from their male partners. This may be the reason why in spite of an increased emphasis on FP programmes in Nigeria, the impact on fertility is still very low with a population growth rate of two point nine per cent per annum (Uzuegbunam, 2005). In line with this, Duze and Mohammed (2006) opined that one factor that might have contributed to the lack of success of the population control programmes may be that they tend to be directed toward women only, ignoring the role of men in FP decisions.

FP, according to Arkutu (1995), refers to the actions couples take to have the desired number of children, when they are wanted. He added that using a method of FP meant allowing choice, not chance to determine the number and spacing of children. This implied that people, especially couples, had a responsibility of deciding the number of children they wanted and the timing of their births, hence the birth of children need not be by accident. Similarly, FP was defined by Planned Parenthood Federation-PPF (2002) as the kind of services which help people to plan their families in such a way that they can have children when they want and help individuals to enjoy normal sexual relations without fear of unwanted pregnancy. This definition views FP as a range of services which enabled people to plan their families and avoid unnecessary anxiety brought about by fear of unwanted pregnancies. Similarly, FP was defined as the planning of when to have children and the use of birth control and other techniques to implement such plans (Family Health International – FHI, 2009). This highlights the importance of employing birth control techniques or FP methods to determine when or not to have children. These different FP methods or techniques are classified into natural and artificial; temporary and permanent; and male and female (Jones, 1982).

Natural FP methods, according to Kippley and Kippley (1996), refer to any use of fertility awareness methods which involve a woman’s observation and charting of her body’s fertility signs to determine the fertile and infertile phases of her cycle. Artificial FP methods, according to PPF (2002), refer to those methods that work in various ways to: physically prevent sperm from entering the female reproductive tract (for example, male condom and female condom); hormonally prevent ovulation from occurring (for example, oral contraceptives, injectables, implants and Intra Uterine Devices-IUCDs); or surgically altering the female or male reproductive tract to induce sterility (for example, tubal ligation and vasectomy).

Temporary FP methods refer to those that can be reversed if and when the individual or couple want to have children while the permanent FP methods are those that cannot be easily reversed such as tubal ligation and vasectomy (Jones, 1982). Condom, withdrawal and vasectomy (FHI, 2009) are the only FP methods available for men. The rest are for females or require female participation. According to FHI (2009), the development of hormonal methods for women and subsequent development of IUCDs and modern surgical sterilization led to the development of a FP services focused on women often to the exclusion of men. There is, therefore, the need to reintegrate men into the FP programme, not just in supporting spouses’ use of FP methods but in practicing FP themselves.

Practice, according to Hornby (2001), is a way of doing something that is the usual or expected way in a particular organization or situation. In the same vein, Cornog, Vranken and West (2008) defined practice as the actual performance or application. In the above definitions practice implies one taking action concerning a particular thing. Therefore, in this study, FPPs refer to all the activities undertaken by individuals, especially males, to prevent unwanted pregnancies, determine the number of children they want and the interval between their births. It is one thing to get involved in these FP activities but it is the extent of such involvement that can determine their success or failure.

Extent is defined as the space or degree to which a thing is extended (Macdonald, 1980). He further referred to extent as bulk, scope or amount. Cornog, Vranken and West (2008) defined extent as the point or degree to which something extends. They also stated that extent refers to dimension, magnitude or measure of something. These definitions indicate that extent has to do with the degree or magnitude of something in relation to others. In the present study, extent is regarded as the degree of males’ involvement in FPPs. The extent of males’ involvement in FPPs is determined by certain factors which are referred to as determinants in this study.

Determinant, according to Hornby (2001) is a thing that decides whether or how something happens. Cornog, Vranken and West (2008) also defined it as an element that identifies or determines the nature of something or that fixes or conditions an outcome. Macdonald (1980) defined determinant as that which serves to.....

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