Document Type


Date of Degree


Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Michael O'Hara

First Committee Member

David Watson

Second Committee Member

Rene Martin

Third Committee Member

Jerry Suls

Fourth Committee Member

Lois Dusdieker


Infant health care use has rarely been examined empirically. A growing literature links maternal health and psychosocial variables to broadly defined pediatric health care use. The Common Sense Model of health and illness behaviors (CSM) provides a framework from which to view the role of the maternal psychosocial variables examined (i.e. maternal negative affect, lay consultation and parenting self-efficacy) in infant health care decision-making. Findings for infant health care use are reported specific to referral source (i.e. mother versus physician initiated infant health care). Physician initiated visits were not significantly predicted by the models tested, consistent with the independence of predictor variables from initiation source (i.e. mothers versus physicians). Mother initiated visits were significantly predicted by the model containing the Lay Consultation worry item, which was also the only variable that significantly predicted infant health care use in the model. The main dissertation study finding is the independence of infant health care use decision-making from most of the maternal psychosocial, demographic and enabling variables examined. The finding is positive for the health care system as it suggests that mothers generally do not seek infant health care for their own emotional regulation and/or reassurance in their parenting competency. The contextual component of the CSM, as measured by lay consultation, received support from the findings, suggesting that mothers' perceived worry of her lay consults results in greater infant health care use. Implications for mothers and infants include community psychoeducation programs and home visiting programs focusing on infant health and development psychoeducation.


health care use, infants, lay consultation, maternal negative affect


x, 161 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 119-128).


Copyright 2008 Tracy E Moran

Included in

Psychology Commons