Concordance, communication, and shared decision-making about family planning among couples in Nepal: A qualitative and quantitative investigation

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1 Scopus citations


Couple communication and joint decision-making are widely recommended in the family planning and reproductive health literature as vital aspects of fertility management. Yet, most studies continue to rely on women’s reports to measure couple concordance. Moreover, the association between communication and decision-making is often assumed and very rarely studied. Arguably, associations between dyadic communication and shared decision-making constitute a missing link in our understanding of how communication affects fertility-related practices. Informed by Carey’s notions of transmission and ritual communication, this study sought to address those gaps with two complementary studies in Nepal: a qualitative study of married men and women and a quantitative study of 737 couples. To assess spousal concordance on matters of family planning-related communication and decision-making in the quantitative study, responses from the couple were compared for each question of interest and matched responses were classified as concordant. Quantitative results found that more than one-third of couples reported spousal communication on all measured family planning-related topics. Nearly, 87% of couples reported joint decision-making on both family planning use and method type. Partner communication was significantly and positively associated with concordant family planning decision-making in both bivariate and multivariate models. Couples communicating about three family planning topics had more than twice the odds of concordant family planning decision-making than did those not reporting such communication. The qualitative findings provided insights into discordant as well as concordant interactions, revealing that decision-making, even when concordant, is not necessarily linear and is often complex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-376
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020


  • Couple concordance
  • couple data
  • family planning
  • reproductive health
  • shared decision-making
  • spousal communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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