DOHERTY, EMITA TERESA; PHD

                         UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, 1990
                         WOMEN'S STUDIES (0453); EDUCATION, ADULT AND CONTINUING (0516); SOCIOLOGY,
                         DEMOGRAPHY (0938)

                         The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which E. M. Rogers' diffusion of innovations
                         model explained the differences between family planning adopters and family planning resistors from a
                         sample of indigent Honduran women. Using the chain referral method and a convenience sample of
                         mothers at a public hospital, the investigator interviewed 92 Honduran women. She used frequency
                         counts, chi square, and correlation coefficients to analyze the data and the 0.05 level of significance and
                         beyond to test group differences. One hundred percent of the study participants knew of the
                         contraceptive pill as a family planning method. Fewer knew of other methods. Ninety-seven percent of
                         the interviewees felt that couples should use family planning to space pregnancies, but 36% felt that
                         using planning methods was too difficult. Eighty-one percent perceived that contraceptives were
                         potentially more harmful than pregnancy or childbirth. Adopters and resistors of planning methods did
                         not differ significantly by religious affiliation, religiousness, conflict with religious beliefs, or perceived
                         approval of others. The two groups differed significantly on other variables: Consistent with the diffusion
                         of innovations model, resistors of family planning (innovation adoption 'laggards') appeared less
                         advantaged than adopters. Women over 29 years of age who had never used a planning method had
                         had significantly more pregnancies, more living children, and had experienced more child deaths. They
                         also had fewer years of schooling and were more likely to be in a consensual union than married. Rogers'
                         model predicted that when people understand an innovation poorly they often misuse the innovation
                         which contributes to negative beliefs about it. In this study all artificial means of birth control were rumored
                         to be carcinogenic, and a large number of study participants believed that the pill and intrauterine devices
                         were ineffective. Failure rates for these two methods was high. The study findings indicate that family
                         planning education must go beyond simply informing women on the availability of birth control methods.
                         Educational leaders must design programs that inform women on how methods work, and perhaps more
                         important, family planning education must address negative beliefs regarding planning methods.

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