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Schools, health services, employers, and family related beliefs and behaviors: A study in Nepal

a PSC Small Fund Research Project

Investigator:   Sarah Brauner-Otto

This project uses new, highly detailed measures of dimensions of social context to advance our understanding of both attitudinal and programmatic mechanisms through which social context influences individual behavior. To illustrate, I investigate how the characteristics of schools, health services, employers, and groups are related to individual’s family related beliefs and behaviors using data from the Chitwan Valley Family Study. This body of research will shed light on the specific mechanisms through which social context influences fertility. Investigating the specific characteristics of each feature of social context will provide evidence regarding the pathways along which this effect is occurring . Similarly, by explicitly modeling the relationship between social context, beliefs, and behaviors this research will increase our understanding of the role that beliefs play in this causal link. These two branches of investigation will speak directly to the various theories that promote either the importance of ideational change or the role of structure in determining behavior. The Weinberg Award will support a month long research trip to Nepal. The purpose of this trip is to visit several different health services, schools, and places of employment, and to meet with group organizers. These visits will involve formal and informal interviews with various employees and service recipients. This trip to Nepal is essential for the formulation of my hypotheses and empirical models and the subsequent timely completion of my dissertation and graduate work.

Funding Period: 10/01/2005 to 12/31/2006

Country of Focus: Nepal

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