Child Marriage and Problems Accessing Healthcare in Adulthood: Evidence from India

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Abstract

The association between child marriage and the access to or utilization of maternal and antenatal healthcare has been widely studied. However, little is known about child brides’ access to healthcare for illnesses later in life. Using data on 496,283 married women aged 18 to 49 years from the India National Family and Health Survey 2015–2016, we developed an 11-point composite score (ranging from 0 to 10) outlining the extent of problems accessing healthcare, as follows: (i) no/little problem (score 0 to 2), (ii) some problems (score 3 to 6), and (iii) big problems (score 7 to 10). The differences between child brides and their peers married as adults were assessed by the relative risk ratios obtained from multinomial logistic regressions. The adjusted risk of having “some problems” and “big problems” accessing healthcare relative to “no/little problem” for child brides was found to be 1.22 (95% CI: 1.20–1.25) and 1.26 (95% CI: 1.22–1.29) times that of those married as adults, respectively. These findings highlight the disproportionate barriers to healthcare access faced by women married as children compared to women married as adults and the need for further research to inform policies regarding effective public health interventions to improve healthcare access.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1994
JournalHealthcare (Switzerland)
Volume10
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2022

Keywords

  • child marriage
  • healthcare access
  • India
  • women’s health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management
  • Health Policy
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management

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