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Home Volume 16 Number 2
Volume 16 Number 2 January 2008

The Relevance of Longitudinal Research for Population and Health

Bencha Yoddumnern-Attig
Philip Guest
Varachai Thongthai
Sureeporn Punpuing
Chanya Sethaput
Aree Jampaklay
Rossarin Gray
Yupin Vorasiriamorn

Longitudinal research is the term coined to differentiate the methodology and utility of this type of research with that of cross-sectional research. It is a necessary tool for studying social change and dynamic behavior due to its ability to track individuals over time to assess change. A prime principle of longitudinal studies is to link individual data across time.

The need for and utility of longitudinal research are extremely relevant today. The growing diversity of changes led by globalization, population trends and epidemiological transitions force researchers to better understand and grasp the nature and processes of change associated with social and behavioral dynamics.

This paper synthesizes the ways in which longitudinal research has been a valuable tool for analyzing changing trends in population and health and the causal factors contributing to these changes, with special attention to its use in the Asia and Pacific Region. The discussion centers on three main aspects, beginning with an overview of longitudinal research, its development and changing needs, its distinctive features, and its relevance to population and health research. The presentation continues with a review of the utility of longitudinal studies in population and health research, followed by an assessment of the prospects and challenges for longitudinal studies.

icon Abstract (24.57 kB) icon Fulltext (184.42 kB)

Reproductive Morbidity among Tribal and Non-tribal Women in India: A Special Focus to Domestic Violence

Ruchi Sogarwal
Laxmi Kant Dwivedi

The objective of this study is to identify the prevalence as well as the determinants of gynecological morbidity and the treatment seeking behaviour of tribal and non-tribal women in Madhya Pradesh. An attempt has been made in this paper to examine whether domestic violence against women would have any influence on their health problems. The present study is based on NFHS-2 (1998-99) data and it is estimated from women’s self reported experience. Logistic regression analyses are used to assess the net effect of socio-demographic covariates on the probability of reporting on symptoms of gynecological morbidity. Apart from this, for better understanding of the effects of the covariates under study, the predicted percent of women reporting any gynecological health problems is presented. The result shows that the prevalence of women having at least one gynecological problem is highest in non-tribal (47 percent) with the most common symptoms being abdominal pain, itching and burning sensation while urination. However, in spite of high prevalence of gynecological problems large proportions of such women do not seek any advice or treatment for these problems. The percent of women reporting any reproductive health problems among the tribal women who are working, have children two to four, age is 20-24 years, have low autonomy, never experienced pregnancy wastage, were currently not using contraceptives and ever experienced any violence is around 43 percent. The results of the study stress the need for greater attention to the quality of care in reproductive health programmes in connection with gynecological morbidity. The findings suggest the need for treatment at health facilities in tribal and non-tribal population of Madhya Pradesh.

icon Abstract (27.85 kB)icon Fulltext (398.92 kB)

The Place of Fertility Intentions: Analysis of Subsequent Childbearing Behavior among Married Thai Women

Hongxia Zhang
Aphichat Chamratrithirong
Iqbal Shah
Aree Jampaklay

This study examines the relationship between fertility intentions and subsequent childbearing using event history analysis (EHA). All married women who were born during 1955 to 1985 were followed from July 2001 to August 2004. Their pregnancy histories were recorded on a monthly basis during this period using Laing’s Calendar. A total of 1,912 women were included in the event history analysis. The results suggest that fertility intention and socio-demographic characteristics can predict subsequent fertility behavior. Intention to have additional children shortens the time until the subsequent birth occurred. About one fourth of the women took approximately two years from intention to have a child. It is also indicated that subsequent childbearing is more likely to occur among the women who are younger, who married late, who have fewer living children, and who are non-Thai. The analysis indicates that it is challenging to facilitate fertility intentions and thus more effort is needed to do so.

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Causal Relation Analysis and Indices of Midlife Crisis of Employed, Married Thai Women

Ungsinun Intarakamhang
Chemba Raghavan
Oraphin Choochom
Ashara Sucaromana

This study is an exploration of perceived causal indices of midlife crisis among married Thai women. The study has the following main objectives; analyzing indices of midlife crisis of married Thai women, and constructing and developing a causal model of midlife crisis of married Thai women. The sample consists of married Thai women working in 3 sectors; government, state- enterprise, and private sector in Bangkok and its Periphery. The ages of participants ranged between 35-55 years old who have at least 1 child. The sample consists of 1,375 persons. There are 6 latent and 18 observed variables. The measuring instrument is 244 items six-scaled questionnaire with Cronbach’s alpha reliability coefficients between 0.7646 and 0.9531. LISREL version 8.72 is used for analyzing confirmatory factors. Results indicated the presence of 4 latent factors; personal factors, family factors, working factors and urban-society factors. All factors were found to have an influence on 2 dependent variables; self-perception of life crisis and impact on individual life crisis. Thus, the hypothesized model of midlife crisis was consistent with the empirical data in all 3 sample groups. The model accounts for 95 % of the variance in government sector group, 84% in state- enterprise sector group, 80% in private sector group, and 89% in all groups.
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Obstetric Morbidity Care in Thailand: Do Communities Matter?

Sharad Kumar Sharma
Panee Vong-Ek

Previous research on maternal health care has focused on individual-level factors, and the role of community-level factors in obtaining obstetric care has not received sufficient attention. This study addresses this gap by examining how community context is associated with obstetric morbidity care-seeking behavior among Thai women in the Kanchanaburi Demographic Surveillance System. Multi-level logistic regression models were fitted to examine the association. While percentage of not working, percentage of people with health insurance, percentage of people with education less than grade ten, and availability of school in the village were positive predictors of care-seeking behavior for morbidity during pregnancy, distance of village to the district center and availability of transportation facilities in the village were positive predictors and average household income in the village was a negative predictor of care-seeking behavior of morbidity during delivery or after delivery. Care-seeking behavior also varied across the villages. Preventive behavior and medical risk factors partially mediated the community effect on care-seeking behavior. However, community characteristics retained their important association with obstetric morbidity care. Community context should therefore not be overlooked while implementing maternal health interventions.

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Influence of Connectedness to Parents and Peers on Drug Use among Male Youth

Chai Podhisita

Drug use, especially use of amphetamine, has been an increasing national problem in recent years despite much effort to control and suppress it. The main objective of this study was to understand the influence of parent and peer connectedness on drug use among male youth.

This quantitative study employed Respondent Driven Sampling strategy to select male youth for interview. The sample consisted of 1,184 youth aged 15-24 years. Of all youth in the sample 70 percent were 15-19 years of age; about 54 percent were students and 63 percent had used some kind of illicit drugs.

Analysis shows that nearly half of the sample with drug experience used amphetamines at their first try. About three-fourths of the users began drug using before age 20 with an average age at first use of 16.2. Logistic regression analysis revealed that youth who showed strong parent connectedness were less likely to use drugs, whereas those who showed strong peer connectedness were more likely to involve in drug use. The findings have significant policy implications. Successful programs for this purpose should enhance strong connectedness to parents while creating awareness of an undesirable aspect of peer influence among youth. 

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Child Mortality Inequality between Thais and Hilltribes in Thailand: Study from Population and Housing Census 2000

Kwanchit Sasiwongsaroj
Chanya Sethaput
Patama Vapattanawong
Kathleen Ford

This study is undertaken to explore levels and trends of under-five mortality rates (U5MR) at the national level among general Thais and 9 hilltribes as well as compare the rates across socioeconomic strata within and between ethnic groups by making use of information on the 2000 census. The Trussell version of the Brass indirect method was employed to estimate U5MR. The gap of mortality inequality was estimated by both absolute and relative difference.

The findings indicated that U5MR in all hilltribes were comparatively higher than Thais over time. Yet, the mortality differentials between them tended to shrink eventually. The variations of U5MR among studied ethnic groups rely on their SES: Thais with a large proportion in high SES were more likely to enjoy low death rates than their counterparts. Further, inequalities in child mortality evidently found within ethnic group; the rates often fell in a continuous linear gradient from the lowest to the highest SES. The socioeconomic differences in child mortality were relatively large among hilltribes, but they were small among Thais.

These mortality disparities between Thais and hilltribes require policy attention to reduce excess deaths by focusing on both social and economic disadvantages faced by hilltribe families.

icon Abstract (24.42 kB) icon Fulltext (150.38 kB)


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