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Journal: Journal of biosocial science


Summary This paper explores the hypothesis that gender attitude scales (which measure the degree of equity in gender attitudes) are associated with contraceptive use. Four hundred male and female respondents (200 couples) were interviewed using a pre-tested, structured questionnaire. Analyses included comparisons of means and prevalence rates on gender equity indicators, other related factors and socio-demographic characteristics; t-tests to compare mean scores on each gender scale for wives and husbands to identify any significant differences; chi-squared tests to compare associations between individual attributes, attitudes and contraceptive use; and multivariate logistic regression to examine associations between each gender scale and contraceptive use. The findings revealed that, on average, wives endorsed more inequitable gender attitudes compared with husbands on all gender attitude scales. For wives, more equitable gender attitudes were positively associated with contraceptive use. For husbands, the role of gender attitudes had no significant association with wives' reported contraceptive use. Family planning programmes that aim to challenge inegalitarian gender norms should not overlook women in their efforts since both men and women often accept and support inequality in a social system and, in some cases, it may be women’s gender attitudes that most influence family planning decisions.

Concepts: Family planning, Questionnaire, Arithmetic mean, Male, Female, Gender role, Woman, Gender


Summary It is evident that sexual activity tends to decrease with age. Nonetheless, it is still prevalent enough to be considered a risk factor for the spread of HIV among older people. This paper uses quantitative data for 2053 individuals to examine HIV risk perception and correlates of perceived risk among older people aged 50 years and older living in Nairobi slums. It emerged that a majority of older people did not consider themselves at risk of infection. Of those who felt at risk, a greater proportion sensed only a small chance of contracting HIV. Women cited ‘no sexual activity’ while men mentioned ‘having only one and/or a faithful sexual partner’ as the primary reasons for perceiving minimal risk of HIV infection. There were no differences by sex in the basis for perceiving moderate-to-great risk of infection. Religion is a key factor in risk perception with Muslims perceiving higher levels of risk and, conversely, devotees irrespective of faith perceiving lower levels of risk. Older people willing to be tested for HIV had a decreased likelihood of perceived risk compared with those unwilling to be tested. This paper recommends evaluation of older people’s perception of risk in order to better inform interventions aimed at minimizing their vulnerability to HIV infection.

Concepts: Illusion, Cultural Theory of risk, Sexual intercourse, Human sexual behavior, Risk perception, Sense, Perception, Risk


Summary A total of 3961 married couples from six major geographical areas representing the South Sinai governorates in Egypt were studied to assess the rate of consanguineous marriage. The population of six selected areas (St Catherines, Nuweiba, Abu Rudeis, Ras Sudr, El Tor and Abu Zenima) were subdivided into Bedouin, urban and mixed populations. A questionnaire-based interview was conducted showing that the consanguinity rate in this region is 37.5%, with the highest rate recorded in Abu Rudeis (52.3%) and lowest rate in Nuweiba (24.1%). Consanguinity was significantly higher among the Bedouin population compared with the urban population in Abu Rudeis, Ras Sudr, El Tor and Abu Zenima, while in St Catherines and Nuweiba there was no statistically significant difference. Among consanguineous couples, 5%, 60% and 35% were double first cousins, first cousins and second cousins respectively. The mean inbreeding coefficient α of the studied population was 0.01845.

Concepts: Egypt, Kinship and descent, Incest, Cousin, Endogamy, Marriage, Cousin marriage, Consanguinity


The study focused on the extent to which the general factor of intelligence g and heritability coefficients of the subtests of an IQ battery correlate. Modest to strong positive correlations were found in five studies from Western countries and six studies from a Japanese meta-analysis. The results for Russian twins were compared with those of the Western and Japanese studies. Data from 402 twins aged 13 and 296 twins aged 16 showed correlations of r=-0.45 and r=-0.60, respectively. It is concluded that the two data points are clearly not in line with established findings. It may be that the link between g loadings and heritabilities is more complex than previously thought.

Concepts: General intelligence factor, Educational psychology, Correlation and dependence, Russia, Intelligence quotient


Summary The majority of studies of the birth spacing-child survival relationship rely on retrospective data, which are vulnerable to errors that might bias results. The relationship is re-assessed using prospective data on 13,502 children born in two Nairobi slums between 2003 and 2009. Nearly 48% were first births. Among the remainder, short preceding intervals are common: 20% of second and higher order births were delivered within 24 months of an elder sibling, including 9% with a very short preceding interval of less than 18 months. After adjustment for potential confounders, the length of the preceding birth interval is a major determinant of infant and early childhood mortality. In infancy, a preceding birth interval of less than 18 months is associated with a two-fold increase in mortality risks (compared with lengthened intervals of 36 months or longer), while an interval of 18-23 months is associated with an increase of 18%. During the early childhood period, children born within 18 months of an elder sibling are more than twice as likely to die as those born after an interval of 36 months or more. Only 592 children experienced the birth of a younger sibling within 20 months; their second-year mortality was about twice as high as that of other children. These results support the findings based on retrospective data.

Concepts: Infant, Birth, Demography, Kibera, Child, Childbirth, Childhood, Infant mortality


The study analysed the HIV/AIDS situation in Zambia six years after the onset of mass campaigns of Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC). The analysis was based on data from Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) conducted in 2001, 2007 and 2013. Results show that HIV prevalence among men aged 15-29 (the target group for VMMC) did not decrease over the period, despite a decline in HIV prevalence among women of the same age group (most of their partners). Correlations between male circumcision and HIV prevalence were positive for a variety of socioeconomic groups (urban residence, province of residence, level of education, ethnicity). In a multivariate analysis, based on the 2013 DHS survey, circumcised men were found to have the same level of infection as uncircumcised men, after controlling for age, sexual behaviour and socioeconomic status. Lastly, circumcised men tended to have somewhat riskier sexual behaviour than uncircumcised men. This study, based on large representative samples of the Zambian population, questions the current strategy of mass circumcision campaigns in southern and eastern Africa.


Summary There is now widespread agreement on the importance of men’s role in reproductive decision-making. Several studies have argued that fertility preferences and their translation into behaviour differ between polygamous and monogamous unions. Studies investigating the dominance of men’s preferences over women’s preferences, in cases of couple disagreement, found mixed evidence of the effect of polygamy. However, an often cited limitation of these studies has been the inability to link husband’s intention with each of his wives in a polygamous union. By adding fertility-intention questions to an on-going Demographic Surveillance Site in Karonga District in northern Malawi the fertility preferences and contraceptive use of husbands and wives were investigated. An analysis of the relationship between the level of agreement and disagreement between husbands' and wives' fertility preferences was then performed to gain insight into the reproductive decision-making process of polygamous couples.

Concepts: Family, Monogamy, Northern Region, Malawi, Polyamory, Husband, Malawi, Polygamy, Marriage


This study assessed the strength of the association between socioeconomic status (SES) and low birth weight (LBW) and preterm birth (PTB) in Southwestern Ontario. Utilizing perinatal and neonatal databases at the London Health Science Centre, maternal postal codes were entered into a Geographic Information System to determine home neighbourhoods. Neighbourhoods were defined by dissemination areas (DAs). Median household income for each DA was extracted from the latest Canadian Census and linked to each mother. All singleton infants born between February 2009 and February 2014 were included. Of 26,654 live singleton births, 6.4% were LBW and 9.7% were PTB. Top risk factors for LBW were: maternal amphetamine use, chronic hypertension and maternal marijuana use (OR respectively: 17.51, 3.18, 2.72); previously diagnosed diabetes, maternal narcotic use and insulin-controlled gestational diabetes predicted PTB (OR respectively: 17.95, 2.69, 2.42). Overall, SES had little impact on adverse birth outcomes, although low maternal education increased the likelihood of a LBW neonate (OR: 1.01).

Concepts: Hypertension, Geographic information system, Diabetes mellitus, Infant, Pregnancy, Obstetrics, Household income in the United States, Childbirth


Many industrialized nations are currently experiencing a decline in average secondary sex ratio (SSR) resulting in fewer boys being born relative to girls. While many potential factors may explain the decline in the birth of males relative to females, it seems most studies support the idea that male offspring are produced less often when environmental conditions are poor owing to males being more susceptible to loss in harsh environments. This study investigates the maternal factors that are associated with the sex of offspring in a cohort of the Australian population. It found that greater parental perceptions of wealth were significantly associated with an increase in the number of sons produced. These results suggest that male offspring are born at increased numbers to women with higher available resources, which may reflect the fact that male offspring are more vulnerable in poor environments.

Concepts: Australia, Reproduction, Boy, Sex ratio, Male, Gender, Female, Sex


The aim of this study was to examine the positive relationship between religiosity and fertility from the perspective of perceived consequences of parenthood. Previous studies in Germany have found that highly religious people ascribe higher benefits and lower costs to having children. Furthermore, the impact of costs and benefits on fertility is less pronounced among the highly religious. This study tested these mechanisms for fertility intentions and in the context of Poland - a country with a low fertility rate and high religiosity in comparison to other European countries. A sample of 4892 men and women of childbearing age from the second wave of the Polish version of the Generations and Gender Survey conducted in 2014/2015 was used. First, the extent to which perceived costs and benefits mediate the impact of religiosity on fertility intentions was analysed. Second, whether religiosity moderates the impact of perceived costs and benefits on fertility intentions was investigated. The results show that part of the positive effect of religiosity on fertility intentions can be explained by more-religious people seeing higher benefits of having children. Furthermore, but only in the case of women, religiosity moderates the impact of perceived costs on fertility intentions, suggesting that the effect of perceived costs decreases with increasing religiosity.