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Table 3 Summary of commonly studied determinants of unmet need for spacing and for limiting (+ = positive statistically significant association; – = negative statistically significant association; n = no statistically significant association)

From: A scoping review on determinants of unmet need for family planning among women of reproductive age in low and middle income countries

Level health service Access to FP services      
Access to FP information      
Level household Rural residence + n + n n  
+ + n + n
Low socioeconomic status +    +    +
+ + n
Level couple Couple discussing FP        +
n +
Level partner Partner’s approval of FP        
Partner’s level of education   n n    
n n n
Partner’s desire for more children       
Level woman Decision-making authority       
Woman’s approval of FP        
Woman’s level of own income n n    
n n n
Woman’s level of education n    n
  n +
Woman’s awareness or knowledge of FP       
n n
Experience of child death   n n     
Number of previous children or pregnancies   n    +
+ + n +
Age of woman at marriage   + n    
Age of woman n ±a   
  n + n
  Unmet need for limiting (%) 14r 14r 13r - 13r 16 6
  Unmet need for spacing (%) 10r 31r 24r - 39r 42 21
  Country Pakistan Sudan Ethiopia Zambia Ethiopia Rwanda Eritrea
  Publication* Ahmed et al., 2011 [48] Ali and Okud, 2013 [36] Hailemariam and Haddis, 2011 [8] Imasiku et al., 2014 [33] Mekonnen and Worku, 2011 [12] Ndaruhuye et al., 2009 [37] Woldemicael and Beaujot, 2011 [43]
  1. * Year of data used for reported prevalence estimation does not necessarily concur with year of publication
  2. +Top line: associations for unmet need for spacing; bottom lines: associations for unmet need for limiting
  3. a Women’s age positively associated in age range <34 years, negatively associated in age range >34 years
  4. r estimates for unmet need based on ‘revised definition’ and thus likely overestimating unmet need for spacing and limiting compared to ‘original definition