Factors associated with knowledge, attitudes, and hygiene practices during menstruation among adolescent girls in Uttar Pradesh
This paper investigates the factors associated with knowledge, attitudes, autonomy, and constraints in the management of menstruation in three districts of Uttar Pradesh. The paper uses data collected from 1,800 post-menarche adolescent girls under a baseline study commissioned by UNICEF in 2012 for a social and behaviour change project, called ‘Girls Today, Women Tomorrow’, on menstrual management. The findings suggest that about half of the girls did not have information or knowledge about menstruation. Less than one-quarter of them followed correct hygiene practices, with very few using ‘sanitary napkin’ as a menstrual absorbent. It was also found that 31 per cent, 20 per cent, and 24 per cent of girls felt impure, isolated, and irritated respectively during menstruation. Two-thirds of the girls reported constraints in the management of menstruation and nearly one-quarter had low autonomy during menstruation. Multivariate analyses indicated that socioeconomic characteristics, such as place of residence (district), the girl’s and her mother’s education, ethnicity, household occupation, economic status, exposure to mass media, and availability of private space, were significant factors influencing menstrual hygiene and autonomy in the management of menstruation.