Health Services, Childbearing Beliefs, and Sterilization

Sarah R. Brauner-Otto, University of Michigan

The macro-micro link is a fundamental component of sociological theory and empirical research. This paper investigates the relationship between specific dimensions of health services and individuals’ childbearing beliefs and behaviors to help illuminate the mechanisms through which social context influences individual’s behavior. I construct a new theoretical framework that explicitly illustrates how specific dimensions of health services effect behavior and provide new information on the social-psychological mechanisms through which social context influences individual behavior by examining the relationship between health services and attitudes. My investigation focuses on a setting in rural Nepal that experienced dramatic social, economic, and demographic changes over the course of current residents’ lives. Findings reveal (1) social-psychological mechanisms are a key piece of the social context-individual behavior link; and (2) multiple characteristics of health services exhibit independent effects on childbearing beliefs.

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Presented in Session 96: Ideational Factors in Fertility Behavior and Change