A grounded theory approach to understand the process of decision making on fertility control methods in urban society of Mashhad, Iran

Robab Latifnejad Roudsari, Talat Khadivzadeh, Masoud Bahrami


Background: More than 30% of pregnancies in Iran are unintended and most of them happen among the women who use various contraceptive methods. Results of Integrated Monitoring and Evaluation System (IMES) showed that the rate of innovative contraceptive use in Mashhad has been 41.5%-57% in different urban areas. This study was conducted to explore the process of making decision toward using family planning methods in women of reproductive age in urban society of Mashhad, Iran.

Materials and Methods: In this grounded theory study, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 45 purposefully selected participants including 28 women and 17 key informants including family health providers and managers, and participants’ mothers and husbands, who lived in urban society of Mashhad, Iran, in 2011-2012. Participants’ recruitment continued until data saturation occurred. Data were analyzed using Strauss and Corbin’s mode of analysis through constant comparative method, applying levels of open, axial, and selective coding with MAXqda software. Study rigor was confirmed through prolonged engagement, member check, expert debriefing, and thick description of the data.

Results: The core category of “caring the comprehensive health of my family,” which emerged from the data, described the process of couples’ decision making toward using family planning methods in this study. Other developed categories which were presented into a theoretical scheme consisted of 1) shaping the ideas of fertility control, 2) developing cognition about the fertility control methods, 3) appraising available choices and choosing the most appropriate one, 4) managing the course of using methods, and 5) realizing the fertility intentions.

Conclusion: It is important that family planning providers understand the motivations, perceptions, and knowledge of women about contraceptive methods in their contextual situation, which illustrates their mode of interaction in the arenas of family planning decision making.

Key words: Decision making, fertility regulation, grounded theory, reproduction, women

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