Boyce aims to become a leading epidemiologist investigating the intersection of intimate partner violence and reproductive health to improve women and girls? reproductive health outcomes. Specifically, Ms. Boyce plans to develop a body of evidence on risk factors for perpetration of reproductive coercion (RC) to inform the development of an evidence-based RC primary prevention model targeting men. Reproductive coercion, experienced by 8-20% of women and girls globally, refers to male partner behaviors that interfere with female control over contraception and pregnancy. RC is a critical, yet under-recognized barrier to female contraceptive use and risk factor for unintended pregnancy. To date, no known research has examined risk factors for male perpetration of RC, primarily due to the absence of a validated measure and lack of data from men, inhibiting the development of RC primary prevention models. The overarching objective of this study is to identify opportunities to improve reproductive health outcomes for women by examining men?s RC perpetration. Ms. Boyce plans to do this by 1) assessing the reliability and validity of a measure of men?s RC perpetration and 2) identifying related individual and social network-based risk factors among husbands of adolescent wives in West Africa. Women and girls living in contexts such as West Africa in which social norms encourage their early and frequent childbearing may be particularly vulnerable to RC. To accomplish these objectives, Ms. Boyce proposes to leverage existing longitudinal data from a representative sample of 773 husbands of adolescent wives, as well as social network data from 165 husbands and influential peer dyads, living in rural Niger (PI: JG Silverman).
Aim 1 : Assess the reliability and validity of a measure of male RC perpetration.
Aim 2 : Characterize men who perpetrate RC to identify modifiable risk factors for RC primary prevention.
Aim 3 : Identify social norm-based risk factors for RC by assessing how husbands? perceived family planning norms and their peers? family planning attitudes and behaviors are associated with husbands? RC perpetration. This research will be conducted under the mentorship of sponsor, Dr. Julianna Deardorff (UC Berkeley), and co-sponsors, Drs. Alexandra Minnis (UC Berkeley and RTI International) and Jay Silverman (UC San Diego). As a student at UC Berkeley and a mentee of a senior researcher at UC San Diego, Ms. Boyce is well supported by faculty and an institution that offer some of the best resources for training in rigorous epidemiologic and biostatistical methods. Her training plan emphasizes scientific productivity and skill development in measurement, dyadic analysis, mixed effects hierarchical modeling, and a special focus on social network analysis. The rich learning environment that will support her as she achieves her proposed research and training goals will prepare her to successfully transition into an academic post-doctoral and early faculty position as an independent, critically-thinking investigator.

Public Health Relevance

This study will be the first to directly assess men?s perpetration of reproductive coercion (RC), as well as the reliability and validity of this measure. Identification of social network-based risk factors will extend understanding of how RC may be socially supported across men?s closest peers and family and inform strategies for addressing RC perpetration among men via their social networks, a novel and promising approach to improving the reproductive health of married adolescent girls in West Africa. This will be the first empirical evidence to inform primary prevention efforts around reproductive coercion in West Africa, a key step toward reducing adolescent and unintended pregnancy, high fertility, and related maternal mortality.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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King, Rosalind B
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University of California Berkeley
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Public Health
United States
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