Prevalence and correlates of reproductive coercion across ten sites: commonalities and divergence

Shannon N. Wood, Haley L. Thomas, Georges Guiella, Fiacre Bazié, Rosine Mosso, Raimi Fassassi, Pierre Z. Akilimali, Mary Thiongo, Peter Gichangi, Sani Oumarou, Funmilola M. OlaOlorun, Elizabeth Omoluabi, Anoop Khanna, Simon Peter Sebina Kibira, Fredrick Makumbi, Michele R. Decker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Reproductive coercion (RC) is a type of abuse where a partner asserts control over a woman’s reproductive health trajectories. Recent research emphasizes that RC experiences may differ within and across low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), as compared to higher income contexts, given social pressures surrounding childbearing. To date, nationally representative surveys have lacked comprehensive measures for RC, leading to gaps in understanding its prevalence and risk factors. Across eight LMICs (10 sites), we aimed to (1) validate the RC Scale; (2) calculate prevalence of RC and specific behaviors; and (3) assess correlates of RC. Methods: This analysis leverages cross-sectional Performance Monitoring for Action (PMA) data collected from November 2020 to May 2022. Analyses were limited to women in need of contraception (Burkina Faso n = 2767; Côte d'Ivoire n = 1561; Kongo Central, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) n = 830; Kinshasa, DRC n = 846; Kenya n = 4588; Kano, Nigeria n = 535; Lagos, Nigeria n = 612; Niger n = 1525; Rajasthan, India n = 3017; Uganda n = 2020). Past-year RC was assessed via five items adapted from the original RC Scale and previously tested in LMICs. Confirmatory factor analysis examined fit statistics by site. Per-item and overall prevalence were calculated. Site-specific bivariate and multivariable logistic regression examined RC correlates across the socioecological framework. Results: Confirmatory factor analysis confirmed goodness of fit across all sites, with moderate internal consistency (alpha range: 0.66 Cote d’Ivoire–0.89 Kinshasa, DRC/Lagos, Nigeria). Past-year reported prevalence of RC was highest in Kongo Central, DRC (20.3%) and lowest in Niger (3.1%). Prevalence of individual items varied substantially by geography. Polygyny was the most common RC risk factor across six sites (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) range: 1.59–10.76). Increased partner education levels were protective in Kenya and Kano, Nigeria (aOR range: 0.23–0.67). Other assessed correlates differed by site. Conclusions: Understanding RC prevalence and behaviors is central to providing woman-centered reproductive care. RC was most strongly correlated with factors at the partner dyad level; future research is needed to unpack the relative contributions of relationship power dynamics versus cultural norms surrounding childbearing. Family planning services must recognize and respond to women’s immediate needs to ensure RC does not alter reproductive trajectories, including vulnerability to unintended pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number22
JournalReproductive health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • Contraception
  • National data
  • Reproductive coercion
  • Violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Reproductive Medicine


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