The influence of marital status and social support on health care utilization

Alice Dunn Levee, Fordham University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of women's marital status and social supports on managing their infants' behaviors and symptoms of illness. One hundred twelve mothers were recruited 1 to 2 days postpartum from Flushing Hospital Medical Center. Women were interviewed about their prenatal health care behaviors, size of social support networks, perceived social supports from friends and families, and receipt of supportive behaviors. Subjects were telephoned after 2 weeks and 1 month post-partum and asked to describe their infants' symptoms and behaviors and their reactions to these symptoms and behaviors. Married women reported higher levels of perceived social supports from family and friends and more received supportive behaviors than single women. Married women contacted physicians less frequently in response to their infants' normal behaviors and symptoms of mild illness than single women. Women with higher levels of perceived social supports from family contacted physicians less frequently than women with lower levels this type of support. Perceived social supports from family could enhance the ability to predict mothers' health care behaviors at week 2 beyond knowledge of marital status and severity of illness. It is hoped that the results of this study can assist the health care community in identifying women who may be at risk of over utilization of health care so that low cost interventions can be designed. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies

Recommended Citation

Alice Dunn Levee, "The influence of marital status and social support on health care utilization" (January 1, 1996). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI9613858.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9613858

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