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Author Notes:

Correspondence: Kathy Hageman, Department of Behavioral Science and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, 1518 Clifton Road, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA. Telephone: 404-727-7883. Fax: 404-712-4299. Email: khagema@emory.edu.

The authors report no conflicts of interest in this work.


Research Funding:

This study received financial support from the National Institutes of Allergy and Infection Disease (AI 23980 and 40951), the National Institutes of Mental Health (MH 42459, 082634, and 66767), the Fogarty AIDS International Training and Research Program (FIC TW001042), the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development (HD 40125), and the Social and Behavioral Core of the Emory Center for AIDS Research (AI050409).


  • HIV
  • couples
  • counseling and testing
  • agreement and disagreement
  • sexual behavior
  • condom use
  • pregnancy

What the better half is thinking: A comparison of men’s and women’s responses and agreement between spouses regarding reported sexual and reproductive behaviors in Rwanda

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Journal Title:

Psychology Research and Behavior Management


Volume 2


, Pages 47-58

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Objective: To compare responses to a sexual behavioral survey of spouses in cohabiting heterosexual relationships in Kigali, Rwanda. Design: Cross-sectional survey. Methods: Husbands and wives in 779 cohabiting couples were interviewed separately with parallel questionnaires. Participants were recruited from a three-year old cohort of 1458 antenatal clinic attendees enrolled in a prospective study in 1988. Analyses compared responses at the gender- and couple-level for agreement and disagreement. Results: Couples were in disagreement more than agreement. Women reported occasionally refusing sex, suggesting condom use, and believing married men were unfaithful. Men reported being in a faithful relationship, greater condom use, and being understanding when wives refused sex. Agreement included relationship characteristics, safety of condoms, and whether condoms had ever been used in the relationship. Disagreement included the preferred timing of next pregnancy, desire for more children, and whether a birth control method was currently used and type of method. Conclusions: Rwandan husbands and wives differed in sexual behavior and reproductive-related topics. Couple-level reporting provides the most reliable measure for relationship aspects as couples’ agreement cannot be assumed among cohabiting partnerships. Furthermore, HIV prevention programs for couples should incorporate communication skills to encourage couple agreement of HIV-related issues.

Copyright information:

© 2009 Hageman et al, publisher and licensee Dove Medical Press Ltd

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