Get access

Social support and antenatal clinic attendance among Thai pregnant women in Hatyai, a city in southern Thailand

Authors

  • Sansnee Jirojwong PhD,

    1. Senior Lecturer, School of Nursing and Health Studies, Faculty of Arts, Health and Sciences, Central Queensland University, Australia,
    Search for more papers by this author
  • David Dunt PhD,

    1. Associate Professor, Director, Centre for Health Program Evaluation, The Austin & Repatriation Hospital, West Heidelberg,
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Diane Goldsworthy MDEd

    1. Lecturer, School of Nursing and Health Studies, Faculty of Arts, Health and Sciences, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author

SansneeJirojwong School of Nursing and Health Studies, Faculty of Arts, Health and Sciences, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton QLD 4701, Australia.

Abstract

Social support and antenatal clinic attendance among Thai pregnant women in Hatyai, a city in southern Thailand¶ Many studies in western countries have shown that persons who have a high level of social support are likely to have better health behaviours, including use of preventive health services, than those who have low support. The present study aims to investigate the impact of level of social support among Thai pregnant women on their attendance at antenatal care (ANC) clinics. The study was conducted in Hatyai, a city in Southern Thailand, between 1990 and 1991. Relationships between various measures of the women's social support and their use of antenatal clinics were assessed. Open ended and closed ended questions were used to gather information relating to these women's level of social support, including the number of supporters and their age, the percentage of females among the supporters, the sources of support (spouse, kin, friend and health professionals), the frequency of contact, the types of support and the sufficiency of support. Social support indices were constructed: sources of support indices, a social network index, a subjective support index, and a social support index. One hundred and seventy-seven postpartum women were interviewed at their homes. Spouses, relatives and friends were important sources of the four principle types of support, namely emotional, instrumental, information and appraisal supports. Less than 10% of the women studied identified health personnel as providing support. The majority of supporters were women who had daily, face-to-face communication with the women studied. Approximately 76% of the women studied had sufficient support. The majority of supporters, except health personnel, provided all four types of support. Only 47% of the women studied made four or more antenatal clinic visits as recommended by the Thai government. No significant relationship between the indices of social support and the use of ANC clinics was identified. The Thai extended family by its nature generates large numbers of supporters. Little variation in support levels among all the women therefore occurred. Support to the women could have positive and/or negative effects on the women's use of ANC clinics. It was concluded that in Thai communities, social support is not an important determinant of the use of ANC clinics and the indices of social support were not the most appropriate techniques to use in the communities.

Ancillary