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Disability among Women and Men Who Married in Childhood: Evidence from Cross-Sectional Nationally Representative Surveys Undertaken in 37 Low- and Middle-Income Countries

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Article number88
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>21/12/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number1
Number of pages13
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Child marriage, which the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal seeks to eliminate by 2030, represents a violation of the human rights of children. These concerns are driven by the negative impact of child marriage on the health of children married in childhood and their children. Little is known about the association between child marriage and disability. We sought to estimate the strength of association between disability and child marriage among women and men in middle- and low-income countries (LMICs). Secondary analysis was undertaken of nationally representative samples involving 423,164 women in 37 LMICs and 95,411 men in 28 LMICs. Results were aggregated by random effects meta-analysis and mixed effects multilevel multivariate modelling. The prevalence of disability was significantly greater among women and men who were married in childhood, especially among those married under the age of 16. The strength of these associations varied by age group and age at first marriage. Further research is required to understand the causal pathways responsible for the increased likelihood of disability among women and men married in childhood. National initiatives to eliminate child marriage may need to consider making reasonable accommodations to policies to ensure these are equally effective for women and men with disabilities.