Abstract

Using data from a 1966–1967 probability sample of West Malaysian married women 15–44 years of age, this paper analyzes the characteristics of women who were active in diffusing information about family planning. The woman’s age and her parity, her educational attainment, her race, her present residence (urban-rural), and whether or not she wanted more children were significantly related to opinion leadership in bivariate tables. However, these relationships appeared to be substantial mainly because these social and demographic characteristics were highly related to whether the woman participated in discussions about family planning with other women. Among women who did participate in such discussions, the social and demographic variables were not substantially related to opinion leadership. In fact, the critical variables for opinion leadership appeared to be participation in the discussions, greater knowledge of family planning, and a higher level of family planning use. An attempt is also made to assess the effect of interpersonal communication on the adoption of family planning among women in the sample.

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