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Household Behaviors in the Management of Diarrhea and Their Relevance for Persistent Diarrhea


Bentley, Margaret E. (1992). Household Behaviors in the Management of Diarrhea and Their Relevance for Persistent Diarrhea. Acta Paediatrica, s81(Suppl. s381), 49-54.


There has been a great deal of research in recent years on household behaviors related to diarrhea management. Most of the available data on household diarrhea management, however, pertains to acute diarrheal episodes. There is a dearth of knowledge concerning household and caretaker behaviors when the diarrhea is of longer duration. This paper briefly reviews some of what has been learned about household behaviors in the management of acute diarrhea and discusses its relevance for persistent diarrhea. Based upon what has been learned from anthropological studies of acute diarrhea and the little that is known about caretaker behavior during persistent diarrhea, a hypothetical model of the interactions among household behavior and characteristics of diarrheal episodes is presented. The model argues that maternal (or caretaker) concern increases with diarrheal duration, and that changes in behavior, both adaptive and maladaptive, are more likely to occur during an episode of persistent diarrhea, compared to acute. In some cases, these actions may directly influence the outcome of the episode. There is a need to better understand household case management behaviors through the continuum of diarrheal duration and the effect of these behavioral factors on episode outcome. This information is necessary in order to communicate effective messages to caretakers about what they should know and what they should do when persistent diarrhea occurs.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Acta Paediatrica


Bentley, Margaret E.