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Pluralistic Ignorance and the Use of Contraceptives in Nigeria

Student: Olutomiwa ayomide Binuyo

Supervisor: Olga G. Isupova

Faculty: Faculty of Social Sciences

Educational Programme: Population and Development (Master)

Year of Graduation: 2020

The 2018 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey revealed that 83% of married women in Nigeria are non-users of contraceptives. Out of this subgroup, 62% decided jointly with their husband (or partner) or the husband solely decided for them. This elicits the notion that social expectations within reference groups could influence the use of modern contraceptives in Nigeria. The study aims to explore the non-use of contraceptives as a social norm in Nigeria and test for the presence of pluralistic ignorance in reproductive health behaviour. In order to answer the research inquiry, the use of qualitative vignette in interviews will be employed to capture the beliefs, attitudes and social expectations of the respondents as regards the non-use of modern contraceptives. Through the use of snowball technique with quota sampling, 20 women and men within ages 20-49 in the Nigerian society will respond to the hypothetical scenarios presented by the vignette. The vignette’s responses will be analysed using the innovative Social Norms Analysis Plot Framework developed by the Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere, (CARE). Pluralistic ignorance is one of the key factors why harmful shared norms persist in a given community. Therefore, updating people’s social expectations will lead to an increase in uptake of family planning services, which in turn, leads to women empowerment and social trust amongst other benefits. The study explores the nexus between pluralistic ignorance, reproductive health and sustainable development in an innovative and multidisciplinary perspective in the Nigerian context. Keywords: pluralistic ignorance, modern contraceptives, social norms, vignette, reproductive health, Nigeria

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