The Prevalence and Predicting Factors of Female Child Marriage in North-West of Iran: A Case-Control Multi-Center Study

  • Fariba Heidari Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Health Management and Safety Promotion Research Institute, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
  • Saeed Dastgiri


Objective: Child marriage which violates the human rights is still a prevalent problem in South Asia where more than half of the teenage marriages occur. It is estimated that in developing countries one in three girls marries before the age of 18 and one in seven marries before 15. In this study we aimed to determine the prevalence of child marriage and identify potential factors predicting its occurrence. Methods: This case-control study was carried out at the premarital counseling centers in Tabriz city. The participants consisted of 1532 subjects (766 couples) with 140 couples as the case group. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression models were used to calculate the odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Results: In one year period the prevalence of child marriage (before the age of 18) was 18.2% while in 8.12% of all marriages the age of bride was under 16 (fifteen years old or younger). We found that lower education and level of knowledge about the impacts of child marriage were independent predictors of early marriage. In consanguineous marriages the risk of child marriage was 95% higher compared to the control group (OR: 1.95; 95% CI: 1.23-3.09). Conclusion: It seems necessary to implement targeted preventive interventions, including educational programs to increase the public awareness about the social, physical, and fiscal consequences of early marriage, delivering skills to empower girls in deciding for their lives, and developing educational and occupational opportunities for young girls.


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