A Study of Media, Husband-Wife Communication for Family Planning and Social Development in Rural Northern Thailand

Boonlue, Thanavadee

     When inducing family planning in particular and other innovation in general, the process of communication with the emphasis on husband-wife communication assumes growing importance for researchers of development communication. Various approaches to examining communication in family planning or other innovation have appeared in the last thirty years; most have based their conclusions on analysis of mass media and interpersonal communication. Husband-wife communication and its process of innovation adoption analysis is given less attention. Therefore, this study proposes to contribute to the resolution of the problem of population growth with the focus on media and interspouse communication in Thai rural farmers who constitute 80 percent of the Thai population. The purposes of the study can be categorized into four aspects. Firstly, the study tries to compare the Northern Thailand studies with the findings of previous studies about husband-wife communication in some other developing countries such as India, the Philippines, and Latin America. . . . Second, the purpose is to seek the causal factors of family planning behavior. . . . Third, the study . . . analyze[s] the effects of similarity of attitudes and aspirations on behavior when they are a consequence of socioeconomic and demographic background characteristics and when they are initiated by the exchange of ideas, attitudes and aspirations between husbands and wives. Fourth, the knowledge from the study will provide information that would aid in the attempt to understand fertility behavior from the family context or the family as a decision making unit."
     The study takes as its hypotheses the following: "(1) A critical element in the spread of an innovation is the nature of the interpersonal process which links the sources and the receiver and causes the dynamics of social interaction. (2) Husband-wife interaction is used as a means to spread innovation, crisis solution, and important factors in decision-making regarding family planning practice. (3) The processes and mechanisms of communication between marital partners are certainly related to family planning. (4) If married partners possess identical frames of reference for viewing family planning, joint action will be considerably facilitated. A number of factors have a screening effect upon interaction and subsequently affect decisions regarding family planning. (6) Where there is more open discussion and interaction between husbands and wives, there is greater likelihood of accepting family planning and consensus on family size.