Association between Attitude towards Wife Beating and Childhood Diarrhea: A Demographic and Health Survey-Based Study in 25 Sub-Saharan African Countries

Betregiorgis ZEGEYE, Mpho KEETILE, Bright Opoku AHINKORAH, Edward Kwabena AMEYAW, Abdul Aziz SEIDU, Sanni YAYA*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background. Childhood diarrhea remains a major public health problem in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Women empowerment reduces child mortality, and wife beating attitude is one of the indicators of women empowerment. There is a dearth of evidence about wife beating attitudes and childhood diarrhea in SSA. Therefore, the present study aimed to examine the association between attitude towards wife beating and diarrhea among under-five children. Methods. We used Demographic and Health Surveys from 25 countries in SSA that were conducted between 2010 and 2020. Using Stata version 14 software, we carried out the analysis on 153,864 children under five. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were applied, and the results were presented using adjusted odd ratios (aOR) at 95% confidence interval (CI). Results. The pooled results show that 71.4% of married women disagreed with wife beating. About 20.5% of under-five children of married women had diarrhea. Childhood diarrhea varied from highest prevalence in Chad (27.9%) to the lowest prevalence in Sierra-Leone (8.5%). The study showed lower odds of diarrhea among children of married women who disagreed with wife beating (aOR = 0.66 95% CI; 0.54-0.80) compared to children of married women who agreed with wife beating. Moreover, the study results show that women's age (35-39 years-aOR = 0.48, 95% CI; 0.31-0.74, 40-44 years-aOR = 0.57, 95% CI; 0.35-0.93, 45-49 years-aOR = 0.35, 95% CI; 0.16-0.79) was negatively associated with childhood diarrhea, while husband's education (primary school-aOR = 1.36, 95% CI; 1.05-1.77), parity (ever born 3-4 children-aOR = 1.36, 95% CI; 1.09-1.70, and 5+ children-aOR = 1.56, 95% CI; 1.14-2.12), and religion (Muslim-aOR = 3.56, 95% CI; 1.44-8.83) were positively associated with diarrhea among under-five children. Conclusions. The study shows association between women attitude towards wife beating and childhood diarrhea. Therefore, empowering women, especially young women by increasing awareness about domestic violence, their rights, and empowering them through education and economic advancement need to be considered in order to reduce childhood diarrhea. Moreover, fertility control or birth spacing and working closely with religious leaders are important factors to consider in reducing childhood diarrhea.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4870994
Number of pages11
JournalScientific World Journal
Early online date13 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

The authors thank the MEASURE DHS Project for their support and for free access to the original data.


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