The Quality of Family Relationships and Use of Maternal Health-care Services in India


  • Keera Allendorf

    1. Keera Allendorf is Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 605 East Springfield Avenue, Champaign, IL 61820.
    Search for more papers by this author



Marital quality is well established as a determinant of health in Western contexts, yet the importance of relationship quality to health in non-Western contexts is largely limited to a focus on domestic violence. Using the Women's Reproductive Histories Survey, this study examines whether women with higher-quality family relationships are more likely than others to use maternal health-care services in Madhya Pradesh, India. Results show that among nuclear families, women with better marital relationships are more likely than others to use antenatal care services and to deliver in a health-care facility. Among joint families, women who have better relationships with their in-laws are more likely to use antenatal care services. The results further suggest that women's agency mediates some, but not all, of the effect of relationship quality on use of maternal health-care services.