Assessing the Role of Women’s Autonomy and Acceptability of Intimate Partner Violence on Maternal Health Care Utilization in 63 Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Pooja Sripad , Population Council
Charlotte Warren, Population Council
Michelle J. Hindin, Johns Hopkins University
Mahesh Karra, Boston University

This study investigates the role of women’s autonomy and attitudes towards the acceptability of intimate partner violence against women (IPVAW) on maternal health care utilization outcomes. We combine data from 113 Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) conducted between 2003 and 2016 from 63 countries, giving us a pooled sample of 765,169 mothers and 777,352 births. We generate composite scores of women’s autonomy and IPVAW and assess the associations between these measures and women’s use of antenatal care (ANC) services and facility delivery in both the pooled sample as well as for each country. We find strong and significant associations between women’s reported autonomy and decision-making capacity, women’s reported attitudes towards IPVAW, and their utilization of maternal health care services. Our results support the hypothesis that women’s decision-making capacity and attitudes toward IPVAW are, at a global level, integral to their health utilization and care-seeking behavior.

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 Presented in Session 5. Health & Mortality 1