Rural-urban differences in the predictive influence of sex preference on marital dissolution in Nigeria

Chukwuedozie K Ajaero, Clifford O Odimegwu


This study examined the influence of place of residence on sex preference as a predictor of marital dissolution in Nigeria. It also appraised the mediation of socio-demographic factors on the relationship between sex preference and marital dissolution. Data were sourced from the 2018 demographic and health survey of Nigeria. Analyses involved the use of descriptive statistics, Pearson chi-square test and binary logistic regression models. Generally, marital dissolution significantly occurred more in rural than in urban areas. While more respondents had no child sex preference, preference for boys was significantly more among the urban women compared to the rural women. Irrespective of place of residence, sex preference was not a significant predictor of marital dissolution in Nigeria as the unadjusted models of marital dissolution and sex preference indicated that preference for more boys significantly decreased the odds of marital dissolution in the rural (OR=0.84; p=0.05), urban (OR=0.67; p=0.001), and total population (OR=0.77; p=0.001). In addition, preference for more girls significantly decreased the likelihood of marital dissolution in the rural (OR=0.82; p=0.002) and total populations (OR=0.84; p=0.05).  Moreover, in the full adjusted model of the total population, preference for more males (OR=0.57; p=0.002) was also significantly associated with decreased odds of marital dissolution. Conversely, other factors that significantly increased the odds of marital dissolution included educational attainment, intimate partner violence, religion, being employed, polygamous unions, and region of residence. Women should achieve higher levels of education and be engaged in income earning occupations as mitigation measures against marital dissolution. Anti-dissolution campaigns should be initiated, especially in rural areas with high levels of intimate partner violence and in regions with relatively high incidences of marital dissolution/p-/p-1. (Afr J Reprod Health 2021; 25[2]: 138-149).

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