Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
VALDES ROQUE, Ana Iris and MARTINEZ CANALEJO, Humberto. The educational level of mothers and their knowledge, attitudes, and practices concerning acute respiratory infections in their children. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 1999, vol.6, n.6, pp. 400-407. ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49891999001100005.
An evaluation was performed on the influence of different variables on the knowledge, attitudes, and practices that mothers of children under the age of 5 have concerning acute respiratory infections (ARIs). Two groups of mothers were interviewed: 1) mothers of children seen in a polyclinic in the province of Havana (n = 221) and 2) mothers whose children were hospitalized in the respiratory unit of a pediatric hospital in the city of Havana (n = 200). The five variables analyzed were the educational level of the mother, her age, place of residence, number of children, and whether or not she was employed in the health service sector, as well as the interactions between the first variable and the other four variables. A questionnaire was used to measure the ARI knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) of the mothers. Two levels of KAP sufficiency were taken into account, "Adequate I" for obtaining 70% or more of the maximum possible score and "Adequate II" for achieving at least a 50% score. For both levels of adequacy, the KAP of the mothers working in the health sector was significantly higher than that of the mothers interviewed in the secondary health care center. This suggests that the poorer knowledge, attitudes, and practices of mothers with hospitalized children may have contributed to the children's hospitalization. The most important variable associated with sufficient knowledge was educational level, which highlights the fundamental and positive influence education exerts on the preventive and curative care that mothers provide their children with ARI.