The influence of maternal intergenerational education on health behaviors of women in peri-urban Bolivia

Soc Sci Med. 2000 May;50(9):1189-96. doi: 10.1016/s0277-9536(99)00369-x.


The influence of maternal education on infant mortality has been demonstrated repeatedly in health and social science literature. Less explored is the influence of the education level of the mother's mother. In the present paper the authors examine the possible effect of grandmother's education on maternal behaviors. The relationship between intergenerational education and selected health behaviors, including utilization of health services for prenatal care, breast-feeding and family planning, are reported. The data were collected in peri-urban Santa Cruz, Bolivia among mothers of infants between 0 and 18 months of age. It appears that grandmother's education does exert an effect on health behaviors above and beyond the effect of maternal education. This effect is more pronounced for health services which fall clearly in the domain of the formal health care system. While the results are exploratory, the results suggest the worth of further study and consideration of the influence of mothers' mothers in the design of culturally sensitive quality health services.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bolivia
  • Breast Feeding / statistics & numerical data
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Educational Status
  • Family Characteristics
  • Family Practice
  • Female
  • Health Education*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Mortality
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intergenerational Relations*
  • Maternal Behavior*
  • Prenatal Care
  • Surveys and Questionnaires