Does men’s involvement improve the health outcomes of their partners and children?

DHS male involvement report

Shireen Assaf and Lwendo Moonzwe Davis

Men’s involvement in the health of their partners and children can play an important role in improving health outcomes. Many interventions in reproductive, maternal, and child health adopt strategies that seek to increase men’s positive, equitable, and supportive involvement. This study used data from men’s responses in Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) in 33 countries. We linked this information with information from women’s survey responses on outcomes for family planning, maternal, and child health outcomes. The objective was to learn whether men’s involvement, defined as having correct knowledge, positive attitudes, and supportive behaviors toward the health of their partners and children, has an association with specific reproductive, maternal, and child health outcomes. Adjusted logistic regression models were run for each outcome and its corresponding independent variable of interest, adjusting for control variables. Although in general few countries exhibited significant findings, the analysis found some significance in the associations between men’s involvement variables and outcomes related to family planning, antenatal care, and child health. The behavior of men discussing family planning with a health care worker showed significant association with their partners’ modern contraceptive use in most countries. Some countries exhibited a greater number of significant findings compared with other countries, which suggests the need for qualitative studies that could help explain these country-specific findings. The study also points to the need for strengthened measures within DHS surveys to capture men’s knowledge, attitudes, and behavior related to reproductive, maternal, and child health.

February 15, 2019
Year of publication
Resource types
Reports and Fact sheets
male involvement, health outcomes, DHS, Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), family planning, antenatal care, child health, contraceptive use

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