Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Household management of infant health: The dynamics of integrating maternal and economic roles in rural, south-central Java, Indonesia
by Gryboski, Kristina L., Ph.D., Boston University, 1995, 347; 9513930
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation documents the pattern of infant care in a rural, wet-rice village located in the Purworejo District, Central Java Province, in Indonesia. Among the most densely populated agrarian territories in the world, Java contains 100 million people, or two-third's of Indonesia's total population. Based on field research that was conducted between July 1990 and July 1991, the study focused on infant care by examining the relationships among infant age, household composition, and mothers' tasks (remunerated and non-remunerated). These variables were significant because an estimated 40% of children under five years of age are malnourished and 60% of the women in Central Java are engaged in income-generating work.

The study was based on a sample of 60 mothers and infants followed over a six month period. Mothers' time-allocations to breast feeding, infant care, and seasonal work-cycles (paid and unpaid) were correlated with the infants' age (3-24 months), weight-for-age nutritional status, and non-breastmilk food intake. Information on household socio-economic status was also collected and ethnographic interviews conducted to determine mothers' explanations of infant care, such as infant illness.

The results of the study showed that mothers' time devoted to income-generating activities outside the home increased with infant age and that child care was left to family members. Multivariate analysis revealed that such remunerative labor and low household asset status were significantly correlated with infant weight loss among infants aged 3-12 months (mean = 7 months). Mothers from low asset households breast feed more frequently and for more minutes per day, and also supplement infant diet with a lower protein to calorie ratio, than the middle and upper asset mothers. Among older infants there was no significant correlation between maternal work patterns and infant weight gains or losses. Among such older infants (mean = 16 months) non-maternal care-givers provided supplementary feeding on 40% of the sample days and the time they spent with older infants was significantly correlated with weight gain. The study concludes that mothers' time-allocation patterns, infant age, and the role of other caregivers have a direct impact on infant health.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hefner, Robert W.
School: Boston University
School Location: United States -- Massachusetts
Source: DAI-A 55/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Nutrition, Public health
Keywords: rural health care
Publication Number: 9513930
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