Moving beyond the mother-child dyad

Women's education, child immunization, and the importance of context in rural India

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The argument that maternal education is critical for child health is commonplace in academic and policy discourse, although significant facets of the relationship remain empirically and theoretically challenged. While individual-level analyses consistently suggest that maternal education enhances child health outcomes, another body of literature argues that the observed causality at the individual-level may, in fact, be spurious. This study contributes to the debate by examining the contextual effects of women's education on children's immunization in rural districts of India. Multilevel analyses of data from the 1994 Human Development Profile Index and the 1991 district-level Indian Census demonstrate that a positive and significant relationship exists between the proportion of literate females in a district and a child's complete immunization status within that district, above and beyond the child's own mother's education as well as district-level socioeconomic development and healthcare amenities. However, results also indicate that the effect of maternal education cannot be downplayed. Thus, increasing women's literacy at the community level, in addition to mother's access to higher education - such as matriculation and beyond - at the individual-level, emerge as effective developmental tools.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)989-1000
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume61
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2005

Fingerprint

child education
dyad
India
Immunization
Mothers
district
Education
education
socioeconomic development
Multilevel Analysis
health
causality
Human Development
Censuses
census
Causality
literacy
Women's Education
Dyads
discourse

Keywords

  • Child immunization
  • India
  • Multilevel modeling
  • Women's education

Cite this

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Moving beyond the mother-child dyad : Women's education, child immunization, and the importance of context in rural India. / Parashar, Sangeeta.

In: Social Science and Medicine, Vol. 61, No. 5, 01.09.2005, p. 989-1000.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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