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Social networks, ideation, and contraceptive behavior in Bangladesh: a longitudinal analysis


  • Kincaid, D. Lawrence


Longitudinal survey data from a panel of married women in Bangladesh is used to estimate the impact of a social network approach to family planning field worker communication and to test a theoretical model of behavior change that explains why women adopt modern contraceptives. Government field workers were trained to organize group discussions with women in the homes of opinion leaders located at central points in each village's social network. A set of intervening variables, referred to collectively as 'ideation', are derived from diffusion of innovation and social network theory to explain how the social network approach affects contraceptive behavior. The rate of increase in modern contraceptive use was found to be five times greater among women in the social network approach than among women who were visited by field workers at home. The impact of the social network approach on modern contraceptive use was almost double that of conventional field worker visits after controlling for the effects of prior contraceptive use and intention, prior home visits, and selected socio-demographic characteristics. Both approaches had the same degree of impact on ideation. The results confirm the influence of ideation on fertility change and suggest that family planning programs would benefit from training field workers to use a social network approach.

Suggested Citation

  • Kincaid, D. Lawrence, 2000. "Social networks, ideation, and contraceptive behavior in Bangladesh: a longitudinal analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 215-231, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:50:y:2000:i:2:p:215-231

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    Cited by:

    1. Gayen, Kaberi & Raeside, Robert, 2007. "Social networks, normative influence and health delivery in rural Bangladesh," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(5), pages 900-914, September.
    2. Gayen, Kaberi & Raeside, Robert, 2010. "Social networks and contraception practice of women in rural Bangladesh," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 71(9), pages 1584-1592, November.
    3. YOUM Yoosik, 2011. "A Network Approach to the Economic Models of Fertility," Discussion papers 11062, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    4. Moser, Stephanie & Mosler, Hans-Joachim, 2008. "Differences in influence patterns between groups predicting the adoption of a solar disinfection technology for drinking water in Bolivia," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(4), pages 497-504, August.
    5. repec:bla:ijhplm:v:32:y:2017:i:1:p:e17-e38 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Stella Babalola & Neetu John & Bolanle Ajao & Ilene Speizer, 2015. "Ideation and intention to use contraceptives in Kenya and Nigeria," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 33(8), pages 211-238, July.
    7. Godlonton, Susan & Thornton, Rebecca, 2012. "Peer effects in learning HIV results," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 118-129.
    8. Thompson, Michael E. & Harutyunyan, Tsovinar L., 2006. "Contraceptive practices in Armenia: Panel evaluation of an Information-Education-Communication Campaign," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(11), pages 2770-2783, December.
    9. Mertens, Frédéric & Saint-Charles, Johanne & Mergler, Donna, 2012. "Social communication network analysis of the role of participatory research in the adoption of new fish consumption behaviors," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(4), pages 643-650.


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