Publication Abstract

Gatny, Heather H., Mick P. Couper, and William G. Axinn. 2013. “New Strategies for Biosample Collection in Population-Based Social Research.” Social Science Research 42(5):1402–1409.

This paper aims to increase understanding of the methodological issues involved in adding biomeasures to social research by investigating the potential of an event-triggered, self-collection technique for monitoring biological response to social events. We use data from the Relationship Dynamics and Social Life (RDSL) study, which collected saliva samples triggered by a life event important to the aims of the study – the end of a romantic relationship. Our investigation found little evidence that those who complied in the biosample collection were different from those who did not comply in terms of key study measures and sociodemographic characteristics. We also found no evidence that the biosample collection had adverse consequences for subsequent panel participation. We did find that prior cooperation in the study was an important predictor of biosample cooperation, which is important information in developing biosample collection strategies. As demand for biological samples directly linked to social data continues to grow, effective low-cost collection methods will become increasingly valuable. The evidence here indicates that self-collected biosamples may offer tremendous potential to meet this demand.

DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2013.03.004

PMCID: PMC3717190

Publication Abstract

Piotrowski, Martin, Dirgha J. Ghimire, and Ronald R. Rindfuss. 2013. “Farming Systems and Rural Out-Migration in Nang Rong, Thailand and Chitwan Valley, Nepal.” Rural Sociology 78(1):75-108.

Using data from two postfrontier rural settings, Nang Rong, Thailand (N = 2,538), and Chitwan Valley, Nepal (N = 876), this article examines agricultural push factors determining the out-migration of young people age 15 to 19. We focus on different dimensions of migration, including distance and duration. Our study examines a wide array of agricultural determinants, each with its own potential effect on migration. These determinants include land tenure, crop portfolios, animal husbandry activities, and use of farm inputs. We link these proximal causes to two underlying mechanisms: risk and amenities. We examine these determinants using separate models across settings. Our results indicate that agricultural factors are significant determinants of migration in both contexts. However, different factors operate in different settings, indicating the importance of contextual variation in explaining the manner in which risks and amenities influence agricultural determinants of migration.

DOI: 10.1111/ruso.12000

PMCID: PMC3963478

Publication Abstract

Jennings, Elyse A., and Jennifer S. Barber. 2013. “The Influence of Neighbors’ Family Size Preference on Progression to High Parity Births in Rural Nepal.” Studies in Family Planning 44(1):67-84.

Large families can have a negative impact on the health and well-being of women, children, and their communities. Seventy-three percent of the individuals in our rural Nepalese sample report that two children is their ideal number, yet about half of the married women continue childbearing after their second child. Using longitudinal data from the Chitwan Valley Family Study, we explore the influence of women’s and neighbors’ family size preferences on women’s progression to high parity births, comparing this influence across two cohorts. We find that neighbors’ family size preferences influence women’s fertility, that older cohorts of women are more influenced by their neighbors’ preferences than are younger cohorts of women, and that the influence of neighbors’ preferences is independent of women’s own preferences.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1728-4465.2013.00344.x

PMCID: PMC3621985

Publication Abstract

Bhandari, Prem B. 2013. “Rural Livelihood Change? Household Capital, Community Resources and Livelihood Transition.” Rural Studies 32:126-136.

Using the sustainable livelihoods approach, this study examines the extent to which household human, natural and economic capital, socio-cultural background and physical resources contribute to livelihood change of farm household to non-farm activities in a rural agrarian setting of Nepal. A number of studies examine the influence of various macro-level, particularly economic factors on farm exit in developed countries. However, we know much less about micro-level household and community assets that contribute to decisions on livelihood transition by farm households in developing countries. I use the unique longitudinal panel data between 1996 and 2001 collected from 1180 farm households from a rapidly changing rural agrarian setting of Nepal. The findings reveal that the availability of household labor, particularly children, access to cultivated land, and livestock ownership hinder decision to livelihood transition net of other factors known to influence livelihood change. Moreover, proportion of non-farm households in the community significantly and positively influenced livelihood transition of farm households. These findings provide important insights on livelihood transition in a rapidly changing poor rural agrarian context.

DOI: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2013.05.001

PMCID: PMC3772533

Publication Abstract

Brauner-Otto, Sarah R. 2013. “Attitudes about Children and Fertility Limitation Behavior.” Population Research and Policy Review 32(1):1-24.

The relationship between attitudes and individual behavior is at the core of virtually all demographic theories of fertility. This paper extends our understanding of fertility behavior by exploring how psychic costs of childbearing and contraceptive use, conceptualized as attitudes about children and contraception, are related to the transition from high fertility and little contraceptive use to lower fertility and wide spread contraceptive use. Using data from rural Nepal I examine models of the relationship between multiple, setting-specific attitudes about children and contraception and the hazard of contraceptive use to limit childbearing. Specific attitude measures attempt to capture the relative value of children versus consumer goods, the religiously based value of children, and the acceptability of contraceptive use. Findings demonstrate that multiple measures of women’s attitudes about children and contraception were all independently related to their fertility limitation behavior.

DOI: 10.1007/s11113-012-9261-6

PMCID: PMC3671613

Publication Abstract

Bhandari, Prem B., and Dirgha J. Ghimire. 2013. “Rural Agricultural Change and Fertility Transition in Nepal.” Rural Sociology 78(2):229-252.

Using longitudinal panel data from the Western Chitwan Valley of Nepal, this study examines the impact of the use of modern farm technologies on fertility transition—specifically, the number of births in a farm household. Previous explanations for the slow pace of fertility transition in rural agricultural settings often argued that the demand for farm labor is the primary driver of high fertility. If this argument holds true, the use of modern farm technologies that are designed to carry out labor-intensive farm activities ought to substitute for farm labor and discourage births in farm families. However, little empirical evidence is available on the potential influence of the use of modern farm technologies on the fertility transition. To fill this gap, the panel data examined in this study provide an unusual opportunity to test this long-standing, but unexplored, argument. The results demonstrate that the use of modern farm technologies, particularly the use of a tractor and other modern farm implements, reduce subsequent births in farm households. This offers important insight for understanding the fertility transition in Nepal, a setting that is experiencing high population growth and rapidly changing farming practices.

DOI: 10.1111/ruso.12007

PMCID: PMC5220587

Publication Abstract

Ghimire, Dirgha J., and William G. Axinn. 2013. “Marital Processes, Arranged Marriage, and Contraception to Limit Fertility.” Demography 50:1663-1686.

An international transition away from familially arranged marriages toward participation in spouse choice has endured for decades and continues to spread through rural Asia today. Although we know that this transformation has important consequences for childbearing early in marriage, we know much less about longer-term consequences of this marital revolution. Drawing on theories of family and fertility change and a rural Asian panel study designed to measure changes in both marital and childbearing behaviors, this study seeks to investigate these long-term consequences. Controlling for social changes that shape both marital practices and childbearing behaviors, and explicitly considering multiple dimensions of marital processes, we find evidence consistent with an independent, long-standing association of participation in spouse choice with higher rates of contraception to terminate childbearing. These results add a new dimension to the evidence linking revolutions in marital behavior to long-term declines in fertility and suggest that new research should consider a broader range of long-term consequences of changing marital processes

DOI: 10.1007/s13524-013-0221-5

PMCID: PMC3786027

Publication Abstract

Axinn, William G., Dirgha J. Ghimire, Nathalie E. Williams, and Kate M. Scott. 2013. “Gender, Traumatic Events and Mental Health Disorders in a Rural Asian Setting.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 54(4):444-461.

Research shows a strong association between traumatic life experience and mental health and important gender differences in that relationship in the Western European Diaspora, but much less is known about these relationships in other settings. We investigate these relationships in a poor rural Asian setting that recently experienced a decade-long armed conflict. We use data from 400 adult interviews in rural Nepal. The measures come from World Mental Health survey instruments clinically validated for this study population to measure Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED). Our results demonstrate that traumatic life experience significantly increases the likelihood of mental health disorders in this setting and that these traumatic experiences have a larger effect on the mental health of women than men. These findings offer important clues regarding the potential mechanisms producing gender differences in mental health in many settings.

DOI: 10.1177/0022146513501518

PMCID: PMC3891584

Publication Abstract

Ghimire, Dirgha J., Stephanie A. Chardoul, Ronald Kessler, William G. Axinn, and Bishnu Adhikari. 2013. “Modifying and Validating the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) for Use in Nepal.” International Journal for Methods in Psychiatric Research 22(1):71-81.

Efforts to develop and validate fully-structured diagnostic interviews of mental disorders in non-Western countries have been largely unsuccessful. However, the principled methods of translation, harmonization, and calibration that have been developed by cross-national survey methodologists have never before been used to guide such development efforts. The current report presents the results of a rigorous program of research using these methods designed to modify and validate the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) for an epidemiological survey in Nepal.

A five-step process of translation, harmonization, and calibration was used to modify the instrument. A blinded clinical reappraisal design was used to validate the instrument.

Preliminary interviews with local mental health expert led to a focus on major depressive episode, mania/hypomania, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and intermittent explosive disorder. After an iterative process of multiple translations-revisions guided by the principles developed by cross-national survey methodologists, lifetime DSM-IV diagnoses based on the final Nepali CIDI had excellent concordance with diagnoses based on blinded Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID) clinical reappraisal interviews.

Valid assessment of mental disorders can be achieved with fully-structured diagnostic interviews even in low-income non-Western settings with rigorous implementation of replicable developmental strategies.

DOI: 10.1002/mpr.1375

PMCID: PMC3610833

Publication Abstract

Allendorf, Keera, and Dirgha J. Ghimire. 2013. “Determinants of Marital Quality in an Arranged Marriage Society.” Social Science Research 42(1):59-70.

Drawing on a uniquely large number of items on marital quality, this study explores the determinants of marital quality in Chitwan Valley, Nepal. Marital quality is measured with five dimensions identified through exploratory factor analysis, including satisfaction, communication, togetherness, problems, and disagreements. Gender, education, and spouse choice emerge as the most important determinants of these dimensions of marital quality. Specifically, men, those with more schooling, and those who participated in the choice of their spouse have higher levels of marital quality. By contrast, caste, occupation, age at marriage, marital duration, and number of children have little to no association with marital quality. While gender, education, and spouse choice emerge as key determinants of marital quality in this context, the majority of variation in marital quality remains unexplained

DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2012.09.002

PMCID: PMC3711098