Descriptive and Injunctive Norms and Contraceptive Use among Women in Urban Nigeria
Marc Boulay, Johns Hopkins University
Lucy Hebert, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Saad Abdulmumin, Johns Hopkins University
Gwendolyn Morgan, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)
Social norms have long been recognized as an influential factor in women’s use of contraceptive methods. Understanding the relationship between descriptive and injunctive social norms on contraceptive use may inform programmatic activities to increase contraceptive use in urban Nigeria. Using data from the NURHI 2011 baseline survey, we examined the interaction between descriptive norms describing the level of contraceptive use in a woman’s social network and injunctive norms describing perceptions of family planning approval in the household, the community, and among community leaders. Women embedded within social networks with high levels of contraceptive use appear not to be influenced by perceptions of family planning approval in their household, community or among community leaders. In contrast, these injunctive norms appear to exert a strong positive influence on contraceptive use among women embedded in social networks in which descriptive norms are unfavorable to contraceptive use.