Volume 28 - Article 30 | Pages 849–880  

When the group encourages extramarital sex: Difficulties in HIV/AIDS prevention in rural Malawi

By Julia Cordero Coma


Background: Recent research on the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa has highlighted the relevance of married individuals‘ extramarital sexual behavior for the spread of the disease. At the same time, there is social disapproval of sexual infidelity.

Objective: This article examines the extent to which Malawian married men‘s likelihood of having extramarital sex is influenced by their expectations about the prevalence of extramarital relationships in their social network. It also explores whether this effect depends on the network density, and whether it is also observed when the extramarital behavior of a particularly influential actor is controlled for.

Methods: Data from the last two waves, 2004 and 2006, of the longitudinal survey provided by the Malawi Diffusion and Ideational Change Project are analyzed both cross-sectionally and through a panel analysis with fixed effects. The longitudinal approach enables the researcher to deal with the potential non-random distribution of social interactions among respondents, which bias the estimation in the cross-sectional analysis.

Results: Married men‘s expectations about the prevalence of extramarital sexual relationships in the network were shown to have a substantial influence on their extramarital behavior, and the impact was found to be bigger in dense networks. In addition, there was some evidence that the perceived dominant behavior in the peer group is relevant, independent of the extramarital behavior of the respondents‘ best friends.

Author's Affiliation

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

Using Respondent-Driven Sampling to measure abortion safety in restrictive contexts: Results from Kaya (Burkina Faso) and Nairobi (Kenya)
Volume 50 - Article 47    | Keywords: induced abortion, respondents-driven samples, social networks, sub-Saharan Africa

Between money and intimacy: Brideprice, marriage, and women’s position in contemporary China
Volume 50 - Article 46    | Keywords: brideprice, China, divorce, family, family law, gender inequalities, marriage

Predictive utility of key family planning indicators on dynamic contraceptive outcomes: Results from longitudinal surveys in Burkina Faso, Kenya, Uganda, and Côte d'Ivoire
Volume 50 - Article 45    | Keywords: contraception, contraceptive adoption, contraceptive discontinuation, contraceptive use, family planning, longitudinal data, methods, panel data, Performance and Monitoring for Action (PMA) surveys, sub-Saharan Africa

Gone and forgotten? Predictors of birth history omissions in India
Volume 50 - Article 32    | Keywords: fertility history, interviewer effects, interviewer observations, measurement error, missing data, panel data, survey methodology

The influence of parental cancer on the mental health of children and young adults: Evidence from Norwegian register data on healthcare consultations
Volume 50 - Article 27    | Keywords: cancer, children, fixed effects, longitudinal, mental health, parents registers

Cited References: 73

Download to Citation Manager

Article ID