Maternal literacy and health behavior: a Nepalese case study
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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Volume (Year): 58 (2004)
Issue (Month): 4 (February)
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