Linkages between maternal education and childhood immunization in India

Soc Sci Med. 2012 Jul;75(2):331-9. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.02.043. Epub 2012 Mar 28.


While correlations between maternal education and child health have been observed in diverse parts of the world, the causal pathways explaining how maternal education improves child health remain far from clear. Using data from the nationally representative India Human Development Survey of 2004-5, this analysis examines four possible pathways that may mediate the influence of maternal education on childhood immunization: greater human, social, and cultural capitals and more autonomy within the household. Data from 5287 households in India show the familiar positive relationship between maternal education and childhood immunization even after extensive controls for socio-demographic characteristics and village- and neighborhood-fixed effects. Two pathways are important: human capital (health knowledge) is an especially important advantage for mothers with primary education, and cultural capital (communication skills) is important for mothers with some secondary education and beyond.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Communication*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Immunization / statistics & numerical data*
  • India / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Mothers / education*
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data
  • Social Support*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Young Adult