Publications by authors named "Helena Archer"

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Understanding how social norms affect modern contraceptive use.

BMC Public Health 2021 06 4;21(1):1061. Epub 2021 Jun 4.

The University of Washington, Seattle, USA.

Background: An aim of this study is to introduce a practitioner-friendly behavior model. Few theories of health behavior explicitly take the effect of social norms on behavior into account. Generally, theories that do take social norms into account assume that the effect of social norms on behavior operates through motivation. We use the Fogg Behavior Model (FBM), a behavior model that is new to public health, to explore whether social norms are associated with modern contraceptive use among Nigerian women, and whether they affect behavior through motivation or through ability. In other words, do social norms that discourage contraception lower women's motivation to use contraception or do they lower women's ability to use contraception.

Methods: This study uses data from a cross-sectional household survey of Nigerian women, ages 14-24. The survey collected data on socio-economic and demographic characteristics of women, whether they were sexually experienced, and whether they used contraception. Modern contraceptive use was the outcome of interest for the study. The survey also collected data on social norms around premarital sex and contraceptive use. Multivariate logistic regression was used for the analysis.

Results: After adjusting for a range of socio-economic and demographic variables, we found that social norms that discourage contraception had a statistically significant negative association with contraceptive use (aOR = 0.90, p < 0.001). The analysis found that the negative association between social norms and contraceptive use remained statistically significant after controlling for motivation but did not remain statistically significant after controlling for ability.

Conclusion: These findings suggest that social norms may affect contraceptive use in Nigeria through ability rather than motivation. In terms of programmatic implications, these finding suggest that public health interventions may be able to counter the negative effects of social norms that discourage contraceptive use by increasing women's ability to practice contraception.
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June 2021