Using the Theory of Planned Behaviour to Describe Male Involvement Intention During Childbirth Among Expecting Couples in a Rural Setting: A Cross-Sectional Study From Rukwa Region, Southern Tanzania

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Fabiola V Moshi
Stephen M Kibusi
Flora Fabian


Background: Male involvement during childbirth can increase utilisation of maternal services and reduce maternal and neonatal mortality. An individual’s intention towards such male involvement can be understood through the theory of planned behaviour, which postulates that such intention is influenced by 3 domains: 1) attitudes, 2) perceptions of social approval (subjective norms) and 3) feelings about control over the intended behaviour. In sub-Saharan Africa, rates of male involvement in childbirth birth are low, and little is known about the predictors of intention for such involvement among expecting couples in rural Africa. This study aimed to determine the influence of the 3 domains of intention on male involvement intention during childbirth among expecting couples in Rukwa Region, Tanzania.

Methods: We conducted a community-based, cross-sectional study of pregnant women and their partners from June until October 2017. In total, 546 couples (n=1,092 participants) were identified through 3-stage probability sampling. A structured questionnaire based on the theory of planned behaviour was used to elicit information on the 3 domains of intention.

Results: Most pregnant women (71.6%) and their male partners (77.3%) intended to have male involvement during childbirth. Among women, only positive attitude (odds ratio [OR] 0.2, 95% CI, 0.1 to 0.7; P=.012) was significantly associated with intention, though in an unexpected direction. In adjusted analysis, men’s positive attitude (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 9.0, 95% CI,1.9 to 40.9; P=.004) and positive subjective norms (AOR 4.4, 95% CI, 1.1 to 18.6; P=.041) were significantly associated with an increased likelihood of intention to accompany their partners during childbirth.

Conclusion: More male partners had the intention to accompany their spouses during childbirth compared to their female partners. Male attitudes and subjective norms may be influential in determining male involvement during childbirth in rural African settings.

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