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Family networks and healthy behaviour: evidence from Nepal

  • Jolene Skordis (a1), Noemi Pace (a2), Marcos Vera-Hernandez (a3), Imran Rasul (a3), Emla Fitzsimons (a4), David Osrin (a5), Dharma Manandhar (a6) and Anthony Costello (a7)...
Abstract

Models of household decision-making commonly focus on nuclear family members as primary decision-makers. If extended families shape the objectives and constraints of households, then neglecting the role of this network may lead to an incomplete understanding of health-seeking behaviour. Understanding the decision-making processes behind care-seeking may improve behaviour change interventions, better intervention targeting and support health-related development goals. This paper uses data from a cluster randomised trial of a participatory learning and action cycle (PLA) through women’s groups, to assess the role of extended family networks as a determinant of gains in health knowledge and health practice. We estimate three models along a continuum of health-seeking behaviour: one that explores access to PLA groups as a conduit of knowledge, another measuring whether women’s health knowledge improves after exposure to the PLA groups and a third exploring the determinants of their ability to act on knowledge gained. We find that, in this context, a larger network of family is not associated with women’s likelihood of attending groups or acquiring new knowledge, but a larger network of husband’s family is negatively associated with the ability to act on that knowledge during pregnancy and the postpartum period.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
*Correspondence to: Jolene Skordis-Worrall, Institute for Global Health, University College London, 30 Guilford Street, London WC1N 1EH, UK. Email: j.skordis@ucl.ac.uk
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Health Economics, Policy and Law
  • ISSN: 1744-1331
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