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Objective To determine whether women or men should be preferred as the target group of the family planning education.

Design Community trial (educational intervention study).

Setting Three villages having similar characteristics in Gaziantep, Turkey.

Population Currently married women aged between 15–49 and their husbands in these villages.

Methods Family planning education was given only to women in the first village, only to men in the second village and to both women and their husbands in the third village.

Main outcome measures Changes in knowledge, attitudes, the behaviour of married women and their husbands between surveys performed before and after family planning education.

Results Important changes in knowledge, attitudes, and behaviour were determined in all intervention groups after family planning education. The rate of effective contraceptive usage among women using any one of the contraceptive methods described significantly increased in all groups, especially where family planning education was given to both sexes.

Conclusions Family planning education given to one of the couples may easily affect the other. Consistent and regular education is more important than selecting target gender groups for family planning education.