Preventive services use by Mexican and Mexican American mothers in a child's first six months of life
An investigation was conducted to explore preventive healthcare service use by Mexican and Mexican-American mothers (n=97) for their infants in the first 6 months of life. Data collection was completed at Women, Infants, and Children's Program offices serving a large number of Hispanics in a north Texas metropolitan area. The majority of participants in this study were first generation Mexican immigrants (72% ), married ( 66%) and classified as Mexican-oriented (74%). Many had an education level at or below middle school level (49%); English language proficiency was poor for 50%. Forty-three (43%) were caring for a single child; 34 (34%) were caring for 2 children. Andersen's model of access to health care guided the identification of factors associated with use of preventive services. Hierarchical predictive modeling, using logistic regression, was performed to predict use of complete well-child care by independent variables identified as predisposing ( e.g., age and number of children), enabling ( e.g., insurance coverage and transportation), and perceived need for services. Analyses were completed for (a) the total sample of 97 women, (b) groups of women categorized into 3 age groups, and (c) women (n=58) whose infants had verification of completing preventive child care. In all groups, available transportation was found to increase the odds of complete well-child care. The majority of the women (77%) had a low level of knowledge about available transportation resources in the community. Those with a low knowledge level about transportation, though, had a higher rate of child care completion than did those ( 59%) with higher knowledge levels. Cultural health care traditions were commonly used, with the most frequent treatments including prayer, lighting religious candles, placing pictures of saints or a rosary in the child's room or bed, brushings with herbs and chamomile tea. No significant relationship was found between use of cultural health care traditions and acculturation. Study findings provide helpful information that can be used by practitioners for assessment and teaching aimed at promoting preventive child care in this population. Further study of transportation issues is needed in order to better understand what they are and address them as a way of improving preventive child care.