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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Maternal and child health journal
Title Domestic violence, marital control, and family planning, maternal, and birth outcomes in Timor-Leste
Volume 19
Issue 6
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
Page numbers 1338-1347
URL http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10995-014-1638-1
Patriarchal traditions and a history of armed
conflict in Timor-Leste provide a context that facilitates
violence against women. More than a third of ever-married
Timorese women report physical and/or sexual domestic
violence (DV) perpetrated by their most recent partner. DV
violates women’s rights and may threaten their reproductive
health. Marital control may also limit women’s
reproductive control and healthcare access. Our study
investigated relationships between DV and marital control
and subsequent family planning, maternal healthcare, and
birth outcomes in Timor-Leste. Using logistic regression,
we examined 2009–2010 Demographic and Health Survey
data from a nationally representative sample of 2,951
women in Timor-Leste. We controlled for age, education,
and wealth. We limited our analyses of pregnancy- and
birth-related outcomes to those from the 6 months preceding
the survey. Rural women with controlling husbands
were less likely than other rural women to have an unmet
need for family planning (Adj. OR 0.6; 95 % CI 0.4–0.9).
Rural women who experienced DV were more likely than
other rural women to have an unplanned pregnancy (Adj.
OR 2.6; 95 % CI 1.4–4.8), fewer than four antenatal visits
(Adj. OR 2.3; 95 % CI 1.1–4.9), or a baby born smaller
than average (Adj. OR 3.1; 95 % CI 1.4–6.7). DV and
marital control were not associated with the tested outcomes
among urban women. Given high rates of DV
internationally, our findings have important implications.
Preventing DV may benefit both women and future generations.
Furthermore, rural women who experience DV
may benefit from targeted interventions that mediate
associated risks of negative family planning, maternal
healthcare, and birth outcomes.

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