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ATTITUDES TOWARD FAMILY TYPE AND FAMILY SIZE IN WEST AFRICA: A STUDY OF NORMS AMONG A GHANAIAN STUDENT POPULATION

Christine Oppong
International Journal of Sociology of the Family
Vol. 4, No. 2 (AUTUMN, 1974), pp. 170-178
Published by: International Journals
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23027158
Page Count: 9
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
ATTITUDES TOWARD FAMILY TYPE AND FAMILY SIZE IN WEST AFRICA: A STUDY OF NORMS AMONG A GHANAIAN STUDENT POPULATION
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Abstract

Recently a number of attempts have been made to stimulate more anthropologists to apply the perspectives and concepts of their discipline to population studies. Pleas have also been made for further understanding of the social determinants of fertility, in particular through the exploration of processes occurring in the reproductive unit. This paper, using an anthropological approach, tests a widely held but sparsely substantiated hypothesis regarding family type and family size: namely, that the extended family type is associated with large family size, and conversely, that the nuclear family type is associated with small family size. Since the statement and testing of such an hypothesis has hitherto been considerably hampered by the lack of precise operational definitions of family type, an important focus of this paper is the utilization of an adequate conceptual framework within which to spell out and test a specific hypothesis. The data used in formulating and testing this proposition are taken from a survey of Ghanaian university students' prescribed norms for conjugal and kinship behavior. An ordinal scale has been used to assess degrees of approval of openness or closure of the conjugal family, that is, extended or nuclear family norms. The correlation between approval of openness (extended family norms) and large family size and approval of closure (nuclear family norms) and small family size is found to be statistically significant.

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