Maternal Health-Seeking on Behalf of Low-Income Children

Katherine Kaiser, Teresa Barry Hultquist, Li-Wu Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Women receiving Medicaid account for almost one-third of the childbearing population in the United States, an extensive investment for federal and state governments. Gaps and conflicting research results exist that explain/predict maternal health-seeking behavior for vulnerable children. Public health nurses (PHN) need evidence to design interventions that improve maternal health-seeking and child health outcomes. The purpose of this study was to examine factors: maternal (key influences), child, and household that contribute to maternal health-seeking behavior. Methods: The design was a descriptive, correlational, longitudinal study (n = 1,141 mother-child dyads). Results: Children were more likely to receive preventive medical care if they had a medical condition (OR: 1.60, p < .01) and had access to private transportation (OR: 1.49, p < .05). Children of married mothers (OR: 1.51, p < .01) and access to private transportation (OR: 1.47, p < .05) received more preventive dental care. African-American mothers (OR: 0.61, p < .01) and mothers with higher self-reported health status (OR: 0.84, p < .05) sought less illness-related medical child health services (CHS). Conclusion: Maternal health-seeking behavior in low-income households is complex. Predictors may depend on whether care is preventive or illness-related, medical, or dental. Further study should clarify what factors predict what type of CHS use to better specify PHN interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-31
Number of pages11
JournalPublic Health Nursing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Child health
  • Prevention
  • Self-rated health
  • Women's health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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