IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

A description of child illness and treatment behavior in Guatemala


  • Heuveline, Patrick
  • Goldman, Noreen


This paper uses a new calendar design implemented in the Guatemalan Survey of Family Health to analyze diarrheal and respiratory illness among children. The calendar provides a much richer description of child illness and treatment behavior than do conventional data typically collected in health interview surveys. The resulting estimates reveal that Guatemalan children experience high rates of diarrheal and respiratory illness and that these illnesses often involve multiple symptoms that only partially overlap one another. In addition, estimates from the calendar demonstrate that the measurement of illness frequency is fairly complex and that classification of illness into distinct categories may not always be feasible or meaningful. Results regarding treatment behavior indicate that the vast majority of illnesses are treated and that mothers almost always receive advice regarding their children's illnesses from relatives. On the other hand, health providers are sought for advice and treatment in only about one-third of illnesses. When families do seek providers, they are more likely to rely on biomedical ones -- especially pharmacists, doctors and personnel at health posts and centers -- than traditional practitioners. By far, the most common form of treatment -- recommended by both relatives and providers -- consists of readily available Western medicines. In contrast, the use of traditional remedies appears to be relatively low.

Suggested Citation

  • Heuveline, Patrick & Goldman, Noreen, 2000. "A description of child illness and treatment behavior in Guatemala," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 345-364, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:50:y:2000:i:3:p:345-364

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Hayley Pierce & Ashley Larsen Gibby & Renata Forste, 2016. "Caregiver Decision-Making: Household Response to Child Illness in Sub-Saharan Africa," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 35(5), pages 581-597, October.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:50:y:2000:i:3:p:345-364. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.