Fertility preferences of the Arab population in the West Bank

Zanoun, Faisal Abed Masoud (2009) Fertility preferences of the Arab population in the West Bank. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This study is designed to explore and examine the various aspects of West Bank couples attitudes, beliefs and childbearing behaviour with regard to family size formation. Within the general framework, the study aims to investigate the various aspects such as household characteristics, marriage issues, determinants of childbearing behaviour, desired family size, ideal family size, gender preference, couples communication with regard to decision making process, and the relation between desired and actual family size. Moreover, this study aims to investigate and examine the effect of socio-economic, cultural and demographic variables on couples preferences and attitudes. It is believed that in order to understand the couples attitudes, beliefs and behaviour, one should first understand the background which created such attitudes and beliefs. As a result, this study begins with a general overview of the West Bank population. Moreover, this study will shed light on the political situation which has a significant effect on demographic change in the region. In addition, it will examine the influence of Arab culture, being an Islamic one, on the role of women in the family and society) family structure and social system child-parental relationships) couples interpersonal relationships) couples relations within their family) preferred number and gender of children) extent of contraceptive use and family planning. The data for the research were gathered by interviewing a sample of 999 couples (husbands and wives) using a questionnaire method. The data were gathered from different environments so as to include urban and rural areas and refugee camps within the district of Nablus. As for the statistical techniques used for analysing the data, the Statistical Package for Social sciences (SPSSX) was employed. Various statistical measures such as means, correlations, chi-square tests, probabilities and multivariate discriminant analysis were performed in order to examine associations between the various variables. Some of the outcomes emerging from the analysis include:1) The political factor has played a major role in shaping the West Bank population from the beginning of this century.2) On average, West Bank families prefer an early age at marriage for females, while age at marriage for males has increased gradually as a direct result of eduction.3) Children's economic contribution to their families is very meagre. Thus, the costs and benefits of having children are not considered to be crucial factors in determining West Bank couples childbearing behaviour.4) On average, husbands have more traditional attitudes towards the number and gender of children than their wives. On the other hand, wives are more willing to use contraceptives.5) West Bank couples, especially husbands, have a strong male preference, especially for the first child.6) In general, the average ideal family size is less than the average desired family size and total fertility rate.7) With respect to desired family size, an `after the event' rationalism effect is evident, especially among couples who have completed their family size.8) A couples relationship and level of communication with each other have a significant effect on decision making with regard to family size preference and contraceptive use.9) The findings reveal significant differences in couples attitudes towards fertility preference. Variables such as place of residence, age, educational level and women's employment appeared to have the largest discriminant power in explaining couples attitudes to fertility preferences. Apart from these major findings, the study also includes suggestions and recommendations for future research.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Findlay, Dr Allan
Date of Award: 2009
Depositing User: Ms Dawn Pike
Unique ID: glathesis:2009-6815
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2015 13:55
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2015 13:55
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/6815

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