Determinants of family planning acceptance and changing social norms among the tribes of Tamil Nadu – A qualitative exploration
Background: There are very few studies done among tribes that explore the contribution of changing social norms which influences the acceptance of family planning methods. Objective: To discover various changing traditional social norms that influence tribal people to accept contraceptive methods. Methodology: Ten in-depth interviews were conducted among Toda and Irula tribes of Nilagiri district, Tamil Nadu. Family planning acceptors were interviewed and sampling was purposive to get data richness. The interviewed were summarized and themes identified. The themes were used to construct a conceptual framework of social factors influencing family planning acceptance. Results: The important themes that emerged were: (1) Perceived need for development in terms of education and sufficient savings for future. (2) Improved perception on attaining gender equality by women. (3) Lack of bonding between parents and children due to poor attention and poor understanding in large families. (4) Learning from the bad experiences of others with large families was a major reason for adopting small families. Conclusion: The social norms which influenced acceptance of family planning methods seem to be related to perceived financial and economic development of families directly or indirectly. Therefore family planning education programs should emphasize on the financial and economic benefits of family planning.