Mothers' fear of child death due to acute diarrhoea: A study in urban and rural communities in Northern Punjab, Pakistan
The investigation of cultural models of diarrhoeal illness which are employed by mothers and their emotional responses to children's illnesses is presented in a study of 595 households in urban and rural communities in Punjab, Pakistan. The household survey of mothers of children 0-36 months was complemented with in-depth interviews of a subsample of 70 mothers. Findings indicate that diarrhoea must be regarded not only as a disease but as a symptom belonging to several popular illness categories. Mothers' emotional responses to symptoms are in part shaped by the illness categories to which they assign a child's diarrhoea episode, and maternal fears that symptoms of diarrhoea may be life threatening are associated with previous experiences with death of children, with treatment choices and help-seeking. A significantly higher proportion of mothers who fear diarrhoea to be life threatening to their children than mothers with other concerns choose to use NIMKOL, the Pakistan ORS. The necessity of recognizing the complexity of interpretive and emotional processes which shape the care of children and the home treatment of childhood disease is emphasized.
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Volume (Year): 35 (1992)
Issue (Month): 8 (October)
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