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Explanatory Models about Maternal and Infant Health and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome among Asian-born Mothers




In this chapter, we explore explanatory models of maternal and infant health among Asian-born women living Victoria, Australia. We illustrate how existing narratives of health and illness form the context for the way in which these women talk about SIDS, a disease they say is not one they were familiar with in their home countries. For these women, SIDS represents a new risk to their infant’s health and it is a risk they say is related to giving the baby ‘too little attention’ and exposing it to too much ‘cold’ or ‘wind.’ Women stress the importance of cuddling and lots of attention to protect the babies' health and explain that these health enhancing practices are vital for the maintenance of their own and their infant’s health.


Contents include

  • Introduction to the study
  • Findings
  • Discussions and implications.
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Author / Editor Biographies

Jane Yelland was born in Adelaide, South Australia, and moved to Melbourne to undertake further studies. She is a registered nurse and completed a Bachelor of Applied Science (Community Health) in 1985. Jane worked for several years on the conduct and initial implementation of the Victorian Review of Birthing Services and now works at the Centre for the Study of Mothers' and Children's Health, Monash University. Her research interests are in women's health with a particular emphasis on the impact that social and cultural factors have on childbearing and infant care practices. Jane is married a...
Martha Maintyre was born in Melbourne and completed her BA (Hons) at The University of Melbourne. She then worked at Cambridge University where she taught women's studies, worked as a research assistant and did a Certificate in Social Anthropology. Her doctoral work involved a study of an island community in Papua New Guinea, and she completed her PhD in anthropology at The Australian National University in 1983. She is married and has two daughters. At present she is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology and Social Theory at The University of Melbourne and is a Fellow of the Key...
Sandra Gifford was born in Berkeley, California. She arrived in Australia in 1984 after completing undergraduate and masters degrees in anthropology, a Master of Public Health in epidemiology and a PhD in medical anthropology, all from the University of California. She is currently a Principal Research Fellow in the Centre for the Study of Sexually Transmissible Diseases at La Trobe University. In her previous position, she coordinated the Master of Public Health course at Monash University. She has two children, a 5-year-old son and a 17-year-old stepdaughter. Her research interests relate to...

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