Maternal Perceptions of Social Context and Adherence to Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Clinic Recommendations Among Marginalized Bedouin Mothers
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National maternal and child health (MCH) care systems often deliver universal health care recommendations that do not take into consideration the social context of infant care (IC) for marginalized groups. We examined associations between maternal perceptions of social context (MPSC) and adherence by minority Bedouin mothers in Israel to three commonly recommended IC practices. We conducted personal interviews with 464 mothers visiting 14 MCH clinics using a structured questionnaire based on findings from a previous focus-group study, and guided by constructs of the Health Beliefs Model. Items were tested for validity and reliability. We used multivariate analysis to identify MPSC constructs associated with adherence to MCH clinic recommendations (timely postnatal first visit, sustaining breastfeeding, and use of infant car seat). Social context, when perceived as a barrier to IC, was negatively associated with adherence to timely first postnatal MCH clinic visit (odds ratio, 95 %, confidence intervals (OR 1.45, 95 % CI 1.24, 1.70) and use of infant car seat (OR 1.43, 95 % CI 1.21, 1.69). However, social context was positively associated with sustained breastfeeding (OR 0.54, 95 % CI 0.37, 0.79). Perceptions of the severity of infant health problems, and family financial and relationship problems had less significant associations with adherence to MCH clinic recommendations. Adherence by marginalized mothers to MCH clinic recommendations is related to their perceptions of social context. When there are higher financial and other living conditions barriers mothers tend toward lower adherence to these recommendations. MCH policy makers and service providers must consider MPSC in planning and delivery of MCH recommendations.
KeywordsAdherence to MCH clinic recommendations Mothers’ perceptions Social context Infant care Bedouin Arabs in Israel Barriers Minority Low income
We wish to thank the mothers for participating in the study. This study was funded by the Israel National Institute for Health Policy Research [Grant Number R/2006/4].
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