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Maternal literacy and health behavior: a Nepalese case study


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  • LeVine, Robert A.
  • LeVine, Sarah E.
  • Rowe, Meredith L.
  • Schnell-Anzola, Beatrice
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    This article addresses the question of whether literacy could be mediating the relationships of schooling to maternal health behavior in populations undergoing demographic transition. Recent studies in which literacy was directly assessed suggest a literacy pathway to demographic change. The literacy skills of 167 urban and rural mothers of school-aged children in Lalitpur District of the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal were assessed by tests of reading comprehension, academic language proficiency, health media skills and health narrative skill, as part of studies in the urban and rural communities that included a maternal interview and ethnographic fieldwork on the contexts of family life, health care and female schooling. Regression analysis of the data indicates the retention of literacy skills in adulthood and their influence on health behavior; ethnographic evidence shows that selective bias in school attainment does not account for the results. Further direct assessment studies are recommended.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 58 (2004)
    Issue (Month): 4 (February)
    Pages: 863-877

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:58:y:2004:i:4:p:863-877

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    Keywords: Nepal Women Education Literacy Health behavior Child survival;


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    Cited by:
    1. Smith-Greenaway, Emily, 2013. "Mothers' reading skills and child survival in Nigeria: Examining the relevance of mothers' decision-making power," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 152-160.
    2. Kenneth Hartgen & Stephan Klasen & Mark Misselhorn, 2009. "Pro-Poor Progress in Education in Developing Countries?," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 8, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    3. Hannum, Emily & Buchmann, Claudia, 2005. "Global Educational Expansion and Socio-Economic Development: An Assessment of Findings from the Social Sciences," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 333-354, March.
    4. Guliani, Harminder & Sepehri, Ardeshir & Serieux, John, 2012. "What impact does contact with the prenatal care system have on women’s use of facility delivery? Evidence from low-income countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(12), pages 1882-1890.
    5. Emily Smith-Greenaway, 2013. "Maternal Reading Skills and Child Mortality in Nigeria: A Reassessment of Why Education Matters," Demography, Springer, vol. 50(5), pages 1551-1561, October.


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