Journal Article

Counseling women and couples on family planning: A randomized study in Jordan

This article evaluates the effects of involving men in family planning counseling in Jordan using a randomized experiment. We randomly assigned a sample of 1,247 married women to receive women-only counseling, couples counseling, or no counseling. We measured the effects of each type of counseling on family planning use, knowledge, attitudes, and spousal communication about family planning. Compared to no counseling, couples counseling led to a 54 percent increase in uptake of modern methods. This effect is not significantly different from the 47 percent increase in modern method uptake as a result of women-only counseling. This outcome may be due, in part, to lower rates of compliance with the intervention among those assigned to couples counseling compared to women-only counseling. To realize the possible added benefits of involving men, more tailored approaches may be needed to increase men’s participation.

Published in a peer-reviewed journal of the Population Council. Marianne El-Khoury is Senior Associate, Minki Chatterji is Principal Associate, and Phoebe Sloane is Senior Analyst, Abt Associates, Bethesda, MD. Rebecca Thornton is Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Mays Halassa is Technical Specialist, Abt Associates, Amman, Jordan. At the time of the study, Sarah Kamhawi was Monitoring, Evaluation and Research Officer, Abt Associates–led SHOPS project, Amman, Jordan.