Botswana men's perspective on partner communication about sexual and reproductive health issues

Sandra B. Letshwenyo-Maruatona, Lesego Gabaitiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Partner communication is key to decision making about sexual and reproductive health issues. It enables men to share responsibility with their partners and promotes their involvement in sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services. The study investigated men's communication patterns about reproductive health issues. Method: A cross-sectional design using mixed methods was used. Criterion purposive sampling was employed to obtain 390 males who reported to have participated with their partners in any SRH service. Data were collected using a questionnaire complemented with 10 in-depth interviews. Analysis of variance was performed to examine differences in men's communication patterns by their demographic profiles. Results: Older, married men with children communicated more about SRH issues than their younger unmarried counterparts. Pearson moment correlation coefficient revealed a positive significant correlation between perceived importance of and frequency of communication. Men reported more comfort in communicating about child-care, family planning, pregnancy and prevention of mother-to-child transmission services but, felt uncomfortable talking about sex, child-birth and infertility. Communication was enhanced by affiliation to male clubs, media, partner support and personal loss. However, discussions were restricted by limited knowledge, cultural factors, fear of embarrassment and being judged as unfaithful. Conclusions: Men valued the importance of communicating about SRH issues though putting it into practice was a challenge. Interventions for enhancing communication should focus on younger couples. Specific issues such as infertility and child-birth need to be integrated into public education strategy to strengthen men's SRH knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-161
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Communication in Healthcare
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 3 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Health Information Management


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