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Perceptions and Attitudes towards Infant-s Physical Health and Caring: Immigrants and Native Born Mothers

Authors: Orly Sarid, Yana Shraga


Purpose: To compare attitudes and perceptions of Israeli native born mothers versus former Soviet Union (FSU) immigrant mothers regarding the physical health of their infant. Methodology: cross-sectional design. A convenience sample of 50 participants was recruited by face to face and snowball technique. A questionnaire was constructed according to the instructions of the Ministry of Health for the care and treatment of infants. The main areas explored were: sources of knowledge that the young mother acquired regarding the care of her infant, ways of caring for the infant, hygiene and sanitary habits, and the pattern of referral to health professionals. The last topic relates to emotions mothers might experience towards their infant. Results: Mothers from both cultural groups present some similar caring behaviors, which may express a universal aspect of mothers' behavior towards their infants. However, immigrant mothers differ significantly from native born by relying less on their mothers' and grandmothers' experience, they wean their infants from diapers earlier, they are stricter about hygiene and sanitary habits and they tend to consult a physician when their infant has low fever. Native born and immigrant mothers differ in their expressions of pride and wonder. Immigrant mothers report of a lesser degree of these emotions towards their infants than native born mothers. Conclusion: The theoretical model of socialization and acculturation of immigrant mothers is employed as an explanatory model for the current findings Young immigrant mothers undergo a complex acculturation process and adapt behavioral patterns in various areas to comply with Israeli norms and values, demonstrating assimilation. In other areas they adhere to the norms of their original culture.

Keywords: attitudes, infant, immigrant mothers, physical health

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